I’m pretty sure all of you must’ve come across that one toothpaste ad where they ask you if you have salt in your toothpaste. What does salt have to do with our toothpaste and oral health? Well, salt contains sodium chloride and helps promote strong enamel, and can remineralize your teeth.
All of this sounds pleasant to our ears and makes sense to us, but is having salt in your toothpaste the answer to all your dental caries and queries? No. Although it can be beneficial, it is not enough to maintain overall dental health.
Instead, it would help if you focused on a routine and specific steps that can direct you towards excellent oral health and, in the process, limit your dentist visits as well.
In this article, we will discuss and together come up with a guide to oral health, a guide that, if you follow, might just give you the shiniest and healthiest teeth you’ve ever come across!
Your Guide to Oral Health
Let’s start by acknowledging that brushing, flossing, and even dental visits aren’t enough to maintain good oral health. Nutrition also plays a vital role and can not be sidelined at any cost. With that said, we will now discuss oral habits that you should follow and the importance of nutrition to enrich your teeth in two separate sections.
Keeping your teeth clean is always step one when it comes to maintaining good oral health. Cleaning the surface of your teeth and the regions where your teeth meet your gums can help prevent various gum diseases and dental caries.
Here are some tips to ensure you are brushing right.
- Brush twice a day
Brushing twice a day is critical to ensure that your teeth are clean at all times. Take about two minutes to brush and make sure that you cover all the surfaces that come into contact with food. Wait for around 30 minutes before brushing after eating since your mouth stays acidic, and brushing can harm the enamel layer. Do not target to clean your tongue since it can also harbor quite a bit of bacteria. Clean your tongue using a tongue scraper
- Use the right equipment
Use a soft-bristled toothbrush and a toothpaste that contains fluoride to brush your teeth. A hard-bristled toothbrush can hurt your gums and increase the chances of a gum disease caused due to bacteria.
- Be conscious of the technique you use
Angle your brush slightly so that the bristles are aimed at the region where your gums meet your teeth. Gently brush in a circular motion while moving your brush in back-and-forth motions. While brushing the insides of your teeth, flick the brush outwards and upwards to make sure there are no food particles stuck close to your gums. Do not use too much force. Be as gentle as you can.
- Ensure you’re taking care of your equipment
Rinse your toothbrush after brushing to make sure there are no particles left on the bristles. Keep your toothbrush away from other toothbrushes to prevent cross-contamination; also, keep it at least 6 feet away from the commode for hygiene purposes. Do not keep them in closed containers or wrapped in any sort of cloth or bag for long periods. Replace your toothbrush once in three months or when you start to notice that your bristles are flaying.
Flossing focuses more on cleaning between your teeth and the area where your gums meet your teeth. It is important to dislodge any sort of food particles that you might find between your teeth to prevent the onset of gum diseases like gingivitis.
Tips to flossing
- Use sufficient floss to ensure good movement while cleaning
- Be gentle and start slow at first
- Wrap the floss around your teeth and move it in an up and down motion
- Try to floss between your teeth and gums, but do not go too high up
- Focus on one tooth at a time
It is normal for you to experience bleeding when you floss for the first time. It might even hurt, but it will become a cakewalk to floss every day once you find your rhythm. You can opt for different kinds of floss depending on your comfort. As long as you’re ensuring to brush and floss, it doesn’t matter in which order you do it.
Importance of Nutrition for Healthy Teeth
Nutrition is essential for your body’s overall functioning, but did you know it also plays a vital role in your oral health?
The first point of contact for all nutrients is in your mouth. When you start the process of digestion by chewing, you are extracting a significant number of nutrients from your food.
The food you ingest is also rich in nutrients. It’s important to keep these factors in mind while consuming nutrients for your teeth.
Apart from avoiding sugars, alcohol, acidic beverages, tobacco, etc., you should also pay attention to your vitamins for teeth, calcium from milk and dairy products, and other nutrients that can affect your oral health. You could also consider taking multivitamins for overall health; they can contribute towards your oral health as well.
We understand that no one likes to make rounds to the dentist every so often, and we also understand the need to keep your pearly whites looking shiny and healthy, which is why we believe that good oral health can start from home.
Ensure you’re following good oral habits and consuming the right nutrients, and you might not have any dental complaints! However, do not miss your annual or bi-annual dental visits because regardless of how much you care for your teeth, they still need to be looked at by a professional every now and then.
Soumya Reddy Tamatam
Soumya is a Biotechnology graduate who completed an online course on ‘Dermatology: Trip to Skin’ offered by Novosibirsk State University (NSU) and a course on ‘Nutrition and lifestyle in Pregnancy’ offered by Ludwig Maximilians University (LMU). Her interest lies in women’s health, nutrition, and skincare. She is a staunch believer in eating the right foods at the right time and in the right amounts to achieve great health.