The teeth are vital structures of varying sizes and shapes which play indispensable roles in the mouth ranging from aiding food digestion and proper pronunciation of sounds to giving our face its shape. Indeed, a set of sparkling clean white teeth can be a huge asset. However, if proper care of the teeth is not taken by way of good dental hygiene, they can become prone to tooth decay and dental caries as well as gum infections. In fact, statistics have revealed that about 36% of the world population (2.43 billion people) have dental caries in their permanent teeth. In other words, they have a hole in one tooth or more. Even babies are not exempted as about 620 million of them are also affected. Sadly, in many cases, this leads to avoidable loss of tooth. Discussed here are a few tips on how to take good care of your teeth and ensure they are always clean and healthy.
1. Brush your teeth twice daily
Experts have recommended people should brush their teeth at least twice a day, preferably at bedtime before sleep and at any other time of the day. The purpose of this is to remove from your mouth plaques or dental biofilms that often harbour bacteria and render your teeth more prone to infection and decay. Also, it is highly essential to make the right choice of toothpaste. Ensure your toothpaste has enough fluoride content which helps to strengthen and protect the teeth against harmful factors. You do not need to cover the head of your toothbrush with paste. A pea-sized quantity of a fluoride paste is enough for you.
2. Choose the right type of toothbrush
Another important choice you need to make for optimal dental health is that of your toothbrush since they vary in terms of size, texture and even mode of operation. Generally, adults should choose brushes with small- to medium-sized heads so as to reach all parts of the mouth including the molars which are quite difficult to reach at the far back. Furthermore, specialised toothbrushes with softer bristles are also available for individuals with sensitive teeth. If you like, you may even opt for a power or electric toothbrush which has been shown to be more effective at removing plaques.
3. Change your toothbrush regularly
It’s generally recommended that you brush every 2 – 3 months or as soon as the filaments wear out. This is because a worn-out toothbrush is usually ineffective at cleaning your teeth and may even damage your gum and cause bleeding.
4. Floss at least once daily
Conventional toothbrushes are not good in removing food particles or plaques in between your teeth, hence the need for regular flossing to prevent plaques and bits of food from accumulating in between your teeth leading to bacterial infection. An alternative to flossing is the use of interdental brushes. Also, for individuals who wear braces, oral irrigators that use a jet of water to remove bits of food around the teeth may be particularly useful.
5. Eat right
Many are of the erroneous impression that it’s only very sugary foods that lead to tooth decay. However, it is the frequency of intake of sugary foods rather than the quantity of sugar that causes problems. So minimise snacking. The American Dental Association recommends reducing the frequency of consumption of sugary foods and beverages in children. Why? Everytime you eat a sugary diet, bacteria in your mouth convert it to lactic acid which is responsible for demineralisation of tooth structures especially the enamel. It typically takes about 1 hour to neutralise the acid. Hence it is advised that you limit sugar intake to your meal times only. Plus drinking water immediately after eating or snacking also helps neutralise the acid faster. In the same vein, adequate intake of calcium in milk and green vegetables helps to make your teeth strong and healthy.
6. Have a regular dental check-up
Usually, dental problems are better prevented than cured as the cure may translate to having to lose one or more teeth. So, if you are having difficulty removing plaques from your teeth, your dentist can help with that. Also, if you have been grappling with persistent bad breath (halitosis) despite regular mouthwash, it may be a pointer to a tooth or gum disease or some other problem with your body system. Visit the dentist for a comprehensive evaluation and treatment. The same applies to people who experience frequent gum bleeds. In conclusion, if you observed a hole in your tooth, it is a sign of tooth decay. Stop taking painkillers as the hole is very unlikely to seal up on its own. Consult your dentist for possible tooth extraction.