Good oral hygiene is key to improving not only your overall oral health, but also your general health and well-being. Proper oral hygiene involves a number of regular practices aimed at keeping the mouth (teeth, gums, and tongue) clean and free from harmful bacteria responsible for causing a myriad of dental problems, including gum disease, cavities, dry mouth, and bad breath, among others, according to Valencia dentist, Dr. Fariba Bolourchi.
These dental diseases can be successfully prevented through a combination of proper home dental care and regular dental checkups. At-home oral hygiene practices such as maintaining a healthy diet, rinsing your mouth with clean water after meals, regularly flossing, brushing your teeth twice a day can help prevent the buildup of plaque that lead to the various dental problems.
Furthermore, since studies show that dental problems such as gum disease contribute to more serious health problems, including heart disease, diabetes, and low birth weight, proper dental care at home can positively influence your entire systemic health.
How to Take Care of Your Mouth at Home
Here are some simple steps to help keep your mouth clean and healthy in-between dental checkups:
1. Correct brushing
Dental professionals agree that you need to dedicate at least two minutes to properly brush your teeth, and do it twice a day. Choose a soft-bristle toothbrush and use fluoridated toothpaste to clean all surfaces of your teeth, the gumline, and your tongue.
Use proper brushing technique, which involves moving the toothbrush head in short, circular strokes across the front and back teeth and gums to remove any food particles and plaque on all surfaces and between two adjacent teeth.
Clean the gums gently to reduce bacteria buildup, improve blood circulation, and prevent gum disease. Also remember to clean the tongue as it can be a common cause of bad breath.
2. Flossing regularly
Many people only remember to floss their teeth occasionally, like when they have some pieces of meat or other food particles stuck between their teeth. However, dental professionals recommend that you floss once a day to remove food particles, bacteria, and plaque from between your teeth, where the bristles of your toothbrush cannot reach easily.
Proper technique is also important here. You should use both hands, with the dental floss tied around your index fingers, and then slide the floss up and down between all your teeth, making sure to reach the gums.
3. Use a mouth rinse
Mouthwashes that contain fluoride can significantly improve your oral health by removing loose particles, strengthening tooth enamel, and preventing plaque buildup.
Lastly, make proper lifestyle choices with regard to anything you put in your mouth. This includes eating a healthy and balanced diet; limiting the intake of sugary and acidic foods; rinsing your mouth with clean water after meals; stopping the use of tobacco; and limiting alcohol consumption. Also, make sure to visit your dentist every six months.