According to the FDI World Dental Federation General Assembly, the definition of oral health includes the ability to speak, smile, taste, chew, swallow, and convey a range of emotions through facial expressions with confidence without pain, discomfort, and disease. It is said to be a fundamental component of health and overall well-being that is essential to our quality of life. Overall oral health is not limited to brushing, flossing, and regular dental visits. The quality of your overall oral health is directly linked to confidence level, and your overall physical and mental well-being. Below we will explore some practical dental care tips that can shape a lifestyle of good oral health.
Dental habits in the first few years of life will lay the foundation for healthy permanent adult teeth, or lack thereof. It is an important parental role to care for the oral health of children and both model and teach healthy dental hygiene. Poor diet, lifestyle habits, and toothbrushing habits in those first 2-3 years of life is linked to tooth decay and dental issues later on in childhood, which ultimately carries over into adult life. Setting a daily routine and creating healthy habits for children assists in teaching them the importance of oral health. Children with great oral health and dental habits are more likely to carry those over into their adult life, preventing issues such as gum disease that are avoidable with proper oral care.
Yes! Flossing really does matter. While flossing and brushing are both important and neither should be neglected, studies show that daily brushing is actually more important than daily brushing. Brushing only removes plaque from the front and back of your teeth while flossing removes plaque from between and underneath the teeth and gums. Those hard to reach places are where the most destructive bacteria live.
Proper Tooth Brushing
It is recommended to brush your teeth twice a day. Proper brushing tools and techniques are just as important as the brushing itself. Hold your toothbrush at a 45 degree angle to the teeth and brush gently in small circular motions. It is important not to brush too soon after a meal or too hard. Brushing too soon or too hard can damage the enamel on the surface of your teeth leading to other complications. Over brushing can also lead to irritation of the gums.
Don’t neglect the Tongue!
Your tongue is just as much of a target for bacteria as your teeth are and neglecting it can actually lead to cavities. Brushing the tongue doesn’t just help prevent bad breath, it is an important factor in overall oral health. There are tiny crevices in the tongue that bacteria can hide in and a simple rinse won’t do the trick. Be sure to brush that tongue each time you brush your teeth.
Drinking water is one of the easiest things you can do to prevent cavities. Water washes away leftover food and residue from the mouth that cavity causing bacteria clings to. It also dilutes acids and prevents dry mouth. Saliva is our mouth’s first defense against tooth decay. While gatorade, juices and other beverages may accomplish the same things, they also leave a sugary residue behind. There is no downside to water and it should be the go to beverage when considering oral health.
Kick the bad habits
Coffee, Smoking, and alcohol are terrible for our teeth and overall oral health. These items in moderation generally will not have a negative impact, but frequent and/or daily usage will not only stain your teeth but can lead to tooth decay, tooth loss, gum disease, and even oral cancer. Sweets are another habit on the list that can wreak havoc on your teeth. Sugar is a direct link to tooth decay and should be enjoyed in moderation for the health of your teeth.
Frequent dental visits
Ideally, you should have your teeth professionally cleaned twice a year. At minimum, see your dentist annually for a checkup and cleaning. Frequent trips to the dentist will prevent emergency trips to the dentist. Your dentist will be able to detect early signs of issues and can help build plans and habits to prevent further damage.
These are only a few of the practical dental tips that can keep you in good overall oral health. Oral health is a lifestyle of habits that start young. These easy adjustments are excellent first steps to improving dental hygiene. If you do not already have a local dentist in the Lafayette or Broussard area, Guilliot Family Dentistry would love the opportunity to join your oral health journey Schedule your annual dental exam and cleaning today!