Oral Health and Hygiene Guidelines

Oral Health and Hygiene Guidelines

By

Dr. Hira S. Chughtai, DDS

 

Introduction

Most people don’t visit a dentist unless they are in pain, but by then it is often too late to take care of a simple problem. What could have been a filling or dental cleaning may now be an extraction or gum surgery. It’s important for all of us to realize the importance of our oral health to avoid pain, unnecessary tooth loss, and expense.

 

Preventative Care

Not taking care of your teeth can also affect the rest of your body.  Without healthy teeth to chew with, we can’t obtain proper nutrition. Also, gum disease has been linked to both diabetes and heart disease. It’s easy to avoid dental problems by following these guidelines:

·         Visit your dentist every six months for an exam and cleaning

·         X-rays will allow your dentist to detect cavities while they are still small

·         Regular cleanings help prevent gum disease and tooth loss

·         A dental exam can screen for signs of oral cancer

 

Children’s Oral Health

Many people don’t think that baby teeth are important because they fall out. However, baby teeth save space in a child’s jaw for the permanent teeth. Infections in baby teeth can cause defects in the developing permanent adult teeth. Here are some tips to prevent cavities in kids:

·         A child’s first dental appointment should occur during their first year

·         Avoid juice and soda in baby bottles

·         Never let a child go to sleep with a milk bottle in their mouth because sugar in the milk can cause severe dental decay

·         Wipe gums with a wet towel after feedings

·         Avoid putting anything in your child’s mouth after it has been in yours, such as spoons to avoid spreading oral bacteria

·         When the first tooth appears, brush gently with a soft toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste

 

Establishing Healthy Habits

Help prevent cavities, gum disease, and their consequences by following these simple rules:

·         Brush with a soft bristle toothbrush and fluoridated toothpaste twice a day for at least two minutes each time

·         Floss in between the teeth at least once daily

·         Denture wearers should remove their dentures nightly to prevent oral infections

·         Brush your teeth or rinse with water after eating, especially after consuming sugary foods and drinks

 

Prevent oral health problems by avoiding bad habits such as:

·         Cigarettes and smokeless tobacco that can cause gum disease and tooth loss

·         Paan (betel nut) that can cause discoloration of the teeth and oral cancers

·         Sugary and acidic drinks, such as soda that cause cavities

For more information about oral health, visit these websites:

http://www.wda.org

http://www.mouthhealthy.org/en/

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