Personal oral hygiene is the careful and regular removal of food debris and plaque from the surface of the teeth, gums and tongue using a variety of tools and appliances. Recently, the range of oral care products has become particularly diverse. How to maintain your gums, oral areas as well as your teeth in perfect condition, read our article and follow the tips.
Why do I need to maintain my oral hygiene?
The mouth is home to more than 20 types of bacteria and their products affect dental health. They consume the food particles left on your teeth after you have eaten and produce acids. These acids attack the tooth enamel, opening the path for the bacteria to attack the inside of the cavity and cause cavities to form. If left untreated, it may affect the pulp or periodontium.
In addition, good oral hygiene is responsible for a number of other benefits:
- maintains healthy enamel color;
- keeps your breath fresh;
- prevents inflammation of the gums and periodontium;
- prevents stomatitis (inflammation of the mucous membranes).
What happens if you don’t maintain hygiene?
Without proper hygienic care, tooth decay develops and over time may become complicated by pulpitis and periodontitis. These diseases require endodontic treatment, which removes nutrition from the tooth tissue and makes it more brittle.
Untimely removal of tartar can lead to inflammation of the gums and periodontitis. The bone tissue of the alveolar process gradually atrophies, which may lead to tooth loss and costly dentures. Thus, proper and regular dental hygiene not only keeps the entire mouth healthy, but is also more cost-effective than treatment.
The symbol of oral hygiene, the morning of every person who cares about the health of their teeth and gums, begins with it. Modern manufacturers offer a truly huge selection of different models of toothbrushes, which sometimes can be very difficult to navigate. But it’s not the design and construction features of the brush should determine the choice, but the hardness of the bristles.
Types of bristles
Extra stiff bristles are indispensable if you have a tendency to form tartar, often use “colorful” food and drinks (coffee, strong tea, red wine). Medium stiffness bristles are universal and the most common when there are no serious dental or gum problems. Soft and super soft bristles are for bleeding gums and after surgical procedures in the mouth. Bristle brush head size, mobility, etc. are not so important, but rather a matter of taste.
Among the different bristle arrangements on the head and the shape of the cut is hard to select the best. However, according to the few studies, brushes with flat bristles are less effective at removing plaque.
Storing a toothbrush
It’s especially important to properly store your brush. After brushing, you should rinse thoroughly with water and dried. Keeping the brush in its case or using its protective cap daily prevents it from drying out, which creates a breeding ground for bacteria.
Every three months, you should replace the brush with a new one. In addition, it is necessary to change the brush after having diseases of the oral cavity and nasopharynx (sore throat, flu).
In addition to conventional toothbrushes, electric and ultrasonic brushes are common, their main advantage is to create additional vibration, which allows you to remove plaque more effectively. It is important to understand that the purchase of an ultra-modern device for brushing teeth does not exempt from the general rules of oral hygiene, and does not reduce them, that is, to brush your teeth twice a day, 2-3 minutes.
Do not be alarmed by the variety of toothpastes, in fact, it is quite easy to navigate. There are now many ingredients in toothpastes, if you remove those that create color and odor, you are left with: a mild abrasive (a substance used in grinding), a humectant (prevents drying), a binder (gives consistency to the paste), a detergent (for foaming).
Today there are only four types of toothpaste with proven effectiveness: fluoride-containing (reduces the risk of cavities and demineralization of enamel), triclosan (anti-inflammatory for gum disease), whitening (helps fight dark plaque) and desensitizing (reduces the tooth sensitivity to sour, hot and cold).
A pea-sized amount is enough for a complete cleaning. It is not necessary to completely cover the entire brushing surface.
Important point: after using paste with fluoride do not rinse your mouth, or do it lightly, otherwise the active substance will not remain on the teeth, and will not have its protective effect.
Tooth elixirs (mouthwashes) are not a must-have, but a supplemental oral care product; they are by no means a substitute for toothpaste. Using a mouthwash prevents the formation of plaque and deodorizes your mouth.
Apply the rinse twice a day, after brushing your teeth. Evening use of the rinse is especially important, because the film of active ingredients created by it stays on the teeth all night. You do not need to rinse your mouth with water after using the elixir!
Means of additional oral care in the form of foam appeared in our market quite recently, but many have already managed to prove their indispensability in some situations.
Foams are used to clean the mouth after a meal (according to many dentists, a simple rinse with water is not enough). The main active ingredient of the foam is the enzyme papain, which dissolves plaque. The product is applied to the teeth, left in the mouth for 20-30 seconds, and spat out.
The use of foams is very convenient outside the home, on the road, at work or at school, when after a meal there is no opportunity to brush your teeth.
It is important to remember that foam is not a substitute for morning and evening brushing, but its use instead of mouthwash is possible.
Floss is used to thoroughly remove plaque and food debris from hard-to-reach interdental spaces. How to use the floss : a 35-40 cm long floss is looped around the first phalanx of the middle fingers of both hands. Then the taut floss is carefully introduced (with the index fingers on the lower jaw and thumbs on the upper jaw) along the contact surface of the tooth, taking care not to traumatize the periodontal papilla.
A few flossing movements remove all soft deposits. Consistently produce a cleaning of the contact surfaces on all sides of each tooth. If you do it improperly, there is a high possibility of injuring the gums, so the use of floss is desirable after prior training from the dentist.
A tongue brush or scraper is not a very common tool. Until now, there is no consensus among dentists about the appropriateness of using such a tongue scraper, but there is definitely no harm done.
Advocates of tongue cleaning say that bacteria begin to multiply in the tongue grooves without cleaning, which results in an unpleasant odor, and if you do not clean your tongue regularly, you may provoke cavities, glossitis, stomatitis. Tongue cleaning becomes necessary when there is a large accumulation of plaque, which appears in many diseases of the gastrointestinal tract and some others.
It is not necessary to use toothpaste to clean the tongue, plaque is removed mechanically.
An irrigator is an additional oral hygiene tool. Many people mistakenly think that this device can fully replace the toothbrush, but this is not true. However, the use of dental floss it can replace.
Using an irrigator can significantly reduce the number of visits you have to make to the dentist and increase the life of your implants, crowns and fillings.
Toothbrush is not able to thoroughly clean all the gaps, hard-to-reach places, the directional jet of water copes with this task. There are no absolute contraindications to the use of the device.
It is important to remember that different people can not use the same nozzle! If the irrigator is shared by a family, the nozzles included in the kit should be different in color.
Mouth sprays are helpful in refreshing the mouth and mask the odor caused by eating foods with a strong, socially unacceptable odor. Not only do they kill the unpleasant odor, but also act on its own by destroying the sulfur compounds that interfere with breath freshness.
The use of such remedies is appropriate only in the absence of dental problems and diseases that can cause unpleasant odors (tonsillitis, gastritis).
Plaque indicators are available in the form of tablets or solutions that color hidden plaque in a bright color. These products are extensively popular among children, while teaching them to brush their teeth and occasionally for self-monitoring. Plaque indicator is perfectly safe to use and has no side effects, except for giving color to soft plaque.
After cleaning your teeth, chew the tablet, where there is plaque, you will see a staining of blue or pink . What is removed from the surface of the teeth with the tongue is stained saliva, and what is not removed from the enamel surface with the tongue is stained plaque that was not removed during brushing. Such untreated areas you need to clean more thoroughly with a toothbrush.