Of all the aspects concerning personal health and hygiene, one very important, often overlooked, but also undeniable, is your dental health. In Florida, in 2018, 45.8% of all adults had to get their teeth permanently removed because of gum disease, and during 2016-2017, 25.1% of children in third grade had untreated gum disease.
These statistics are indeed alarming; perhaps negligence or lack of routine care contributes to this. With the increasing emphasis on physical beauty, the importance of dental hygiene should have naturally increased. Who doesn’t want a picture-perfect smile?
However, it sure doesn’t come without some struggle. To achieve and maintain a perfect smile, you must be vigilant and regular in your dental health routine. The following are some handy tips for ensuring good dental hygiene:
1. Visit the dentist regularly
The only way to catch a problem quickly and prevent it from escalating is to visit the dentist frequently. The recommended frequency of visiting the dentist is every six months. Routine checkups with the dentist will incorporate oral exams and regular cleaning of plaque and tartar.
While many people tend to be negligent when planning visits to the dentist, a positive trend has been seen in Florida between 2012 and 2018, the percentage of adults who visited the dentist rose by 10%; in 2018.
At the same time, 65.7% of those above age 18 had seen the dentist in the last year.
Sometimes your dentist might conduct an X-ray to look for cavities. A simple visual examination might identify other more severe problems like mouth cancer or gum disease. During such visits, you can also identify the need for braces in time. On average, the braces cost in Tampa, FL can range between $4,000 and $7,000, depending on where you get them.
2. Use toothpaste that has fluoride
Fluoride, an element derived from fluorine, is an all-popular ingredient widely incorporated into mouthwashes and toothpaste because it prevents cavities. In fact, insufficient use of fluoride can cause tooth decay.
Considering the necessity of this natural ingredient, many communities have introduced fluoride to the drinking water supply. The World Health Organization, the ADA, and several other agencies have recommended this practice. In Florida, 78.1% of citizens were getting fluorinated water in their community water systems in 2019.
Make sure your toothpaste and mouthwashes all contain fluoride. You can identify the amount of fluoride your toothpaste contains by reading the information on the side of the tube. On average, 1,350 to 1,500 pm is the recommended quantity.
3. Don’t overlook the need for flossing
Brushing is never enough; simple toothbrushes are often ineffective in removing plaque between teeth. The food particles and bacteria in the gaps between teeth cause bad breath and, if left to stay, can lead to more severe problems.
Floss is also the only effective way of removing plaque that accumulates underneath the gum line. This plaque can convert to tartar, cause discoloration, and lead to an erosion of the enamel. In the long run, flossing will reduce the chances of soreness or redness of the gums and prevent gingivitis.
The recommended way of flossing is to push the floss down to the gum line before dragging it along the tooth’s side. Remember to be careful, as doing this harshly in an up-and-down motion can damage the gums and cause pain.
4. Reduce intake of starch and sugary foods
No matter how tempting it might be to stock your cupboard with sweet delights, steer clear of this terrible habit, especially for snacking on before sleep. Sugary and starchy foods can cause cavities and other problems.
The World Health Organization advises limiting sugar intake to less than 10% of the number of calories consumed in a day.
Research also suggests that starchy foods like bread, chips, or pasta can lead to tooth decay. Starch-rich foods are sticky, so they tend to get stuck between the teeth and decompose into simple sugars over time. Acid-producing bacteria in the mouth feed on these simple sugars, and this acid can lead to tooth decay.
5. Consider using a mouthwash
It is a common misconception that regular brushing is an all-in-one solution for ensuring healthy teeth; it certainly is not enough. Research claims mouthwashes contain antibacterial agents like chlorhexidine that can reduce plaque and prevent gingivitis.
Using mouthwash every once in a while ensures that you have long-lasting fresh breath, gets rid of food debris, prevents cavity, sensitivity, and gum disease, and treats canker sores (a type of ulcer).
The recommended way of using mouthwash is as follows; take as much of the product as advised in the instructions for the product (usually 3 to 5 teaspoons), pour it into your mouth and swish it around without swallowing, gargle for 30 seconds, and then spit it out.
Mouthwash is most effective when used right after brushing your flossing. Remember that mouthwash is certainly not an alternative to brushing or flossing and should always be used as an additional step in your daily healthcare routine.
A picture-perfect smile gives a tremendous boost to your confidence; everyone deserves one. This doesn’t come without much effort, so give it your best. Make frequent visits to the dentist, make sure your toothpaste and mouthwash have fluoride, floss regularly, minimize sugary foods, and consider using mouthwash.
In the long run, this oral hygiene routine will yield long-term positive results.