At any given time, your mouth can contain a variety of different bacteria and microorganisms. That is why maintaining good oral hygiene at home is a critical part of having a healthy smile. Doing so will prevent dental disease, bad breath, and avoidable trips to the dentist’s office.
What is Oral Hygiene Exactly?
Your oral hygiene is all the different things that make up the practice of keeping your mouth clean and free of disease and other issues. This can include a variety of different habits, like brushing your teeth and flossing.
Just like taking a shower, practicing these habits for your mouth regularly is something that should be worked into your daily routine. A good oral hygiene routine is vital to your overall health and well-being.
Solely relying on what your dentist does in the office is not going to cut it when it comes to the health of your teeth and gums.
Why Good Oral Hygiene is Important
Practicing good oral hygiene habits is your number one defense against your mouth’s number one enemy: plaque. A sticky, pale yellow, or colorless bacterial film, plaque is continually forming on your teeth. When food and drinks combine with your saliva, the plaque starts to form between your teeth and along your gum line.
Four to twelve hours after brushing plaque will begin forming on teeth. Doing everything you can to stop plaque in its tracks is important for many reasons:
Brushing and flossing daily prevents plaque and acid build-up from breaking down the tooth’s enamel. As the tooth’s enamel breaks down cavities (holes in the enamel) can form and lead to further decay.
Prevents Gingivitis & Periodontitis
An excess build-up of plaque can attack your gums and lead to Gingivitis. Gingivitis is a gum disease that causes inflammation and can lead to bleeding and swelling in the gums. If left untreated, Gingivitis can progress into Periodontitis. At this point, the disease has spread further throughout the gums and even to the bone supporting your teeth and can lead to tooth loss.
Source: Mayo Clinic
Poor Oral Hygiene Affects Your Overall Health
Your mouth is a direct pathway to other important internal parts of your body. So, not keeping your teeth and gums clean and healthy can lead to other serious health problems. According to Harvard research, periodontal disease leads to an increased risk of heart disease.
Poor oral hygiene has also been linked to causing Diabetes, Bacterial Pneumonia, Sepsis, Infective Endocarditis, Cancer, Pregnancy Complications, and Low Birth Weight.
Promotes a Whiter and Brighter Smile
Maintaining good oral hygiene helps keep your teeth whiter and promotes confidence in your smile. This then leads to a brighter and bigger smile.
Allows For Early Detection of Oral Diseases
Part of your oral hygiene routine should include bi-annual visits to your dentist for checkups and cleaning. During these visits, any new oral conditions or the start of oral diseases can be caught early and addressed before they have the opportunity to cause bigger problems.
Enables Your Dentist to Create a Customized Oral Treatment Plan
If you work together with your dentist in maintaining google oral health, your regular checkups also provide the opportunity for your dentist to create a more customized dental plan for you. This plan can include specific types of treatment to meet your mouth’s needs and achieve your dental goals, whether that includes fluoride treatments, orthodontics, or anything in between.
A Proper Oral Hygiene Routine You Can Follow
Are you doing everything you can to maintain your oral health? It might be time to re-evaluate your oral hygiene routine and see if there are some improvements you can make. Here is a great routine to follow that will help keep your teeth and gums in optimal condition:
- Brush your teeth with fluoride toothpaste for 2-minutes as soon as possible after getting up, before eating breakfast. (Bonus tip: An electric toothbrush can clean your teeth much more effectively than manually brushing.)
- Use a fluoride mouthwash after eating. This helps prevent any bacteria from building up between brushing. (Bonus: To get the full effect of the mouthwash, just spit the mouthwash out and do not rinse with water. Also, don’t use mouthwash right after brushing, or else you rinse off the plaque-fighting power of the toothpaste.)
- Drink water throughout the day to allow your mouth to produce the proper amounts of saliva, which keeps the pH level in your mouth balanced.
- Floss your teeth at night after eating and before going to bed.
- Brush with fluoride toothpaste for 2-minutes after flossing. Brushing after flossing will help remove any food particles that the floss may have dislodged but not completely gotten rid of.
- Drink a glass of water before bed to hydrate your mouth and help maintain saliva production throughout the night. Try to stick to drinking only water after brushing so that your teeth are not being attacked all night by acids or sugar.
- Try not to eat or drink anything sugary or acidic more than 3 to 4 times a day.
- Schedule dental checkups and cleanings every 6 months.
- Try and stick to a diet high in fruits and vegetables and low in refined sugars and carbohydrates.
Effective Oral Hygiene Habits Are a Must
As you can see, maintaining a good oral hygiene routine is important not only for the health of your teeth and gums but also for your overall health. If you follow the routine we outlined above, you’ll be establishing fantastic oral health habits that will help keep you protected.
Here at Radomile Family Dental Care, we are your partner in optimum oral health. Through regular checkups and cleanings, we can help you stay on top of your oral hygiene and catch any issues early.
If you have questions about maintaining a good oral hygiene routine or the products we recommend to use at home don’t hesitate to contact us! We’re here to help!