Oral hygiene is the practice of keeping your teeth and gums healthy and free from infection. Good oral hygiene habits are essential not only for clean teeth and fresh breath, but also to ensure an individual's overall well-being.
Dr. Anupama Jaswal, general dentist at Noa Dental Clinic with over 22 years of clinical experience explains, "While everyone is aware that they should be brushing and flossing regularly, there are a few errors that can prevent your mouth from being as healthy as it should be. We have listed out some of the most common mistakes that happen along with their practical solutions."
Not brushing enough
When people spend less than a minute brushing their teeth, it is likely that plaque will not get adequately removed from the tooth surface. This over time can lead to tartar build up, bad breath or gum disease. To ensure complete removal of both food debris and bacteria, it is important to brush twice a day for 2 minutes. Avoid scrubbing briskly in a back and forth motion, instead run the toothbrush in gentle, circular motion on all tooth surfaces finishing with a downward or upward stroke away from the gums.
Using the incorrect type of toothbrush or brushing aggressively
Brushing with a large-sized, hard-bristled toothbrush can hurt your gums and potentially lead to gum recession. Contrarily, a small or medium-sized toothbrush with soft bristles is recommended as it will gently clean your teeth while ensuring that no damage is caused during the brushing process. The soft bristled toothbrushes are designed to prevent gum recession and feature a smaller head to enable effective cleaning while being gentle on your gums.
Another misconception is 'going to town with the brush' assuming that the harder we brush, the cleaner our teeth will be. However, using aggressive force can lead to receding gums and even weaken your tooth’s enamel. Signs of brushing too hard include fraying of toothbrush bristles in as little as two months, increasing teeth sensitivity, and a receding gum line. Therefore, it is always recommended to brush gently using a soft bristled toothbrush, or an electric toothbrush (with a pressure indicator). It is also advised to replace your toothbrush every three to four months
Brushing immediately after eating
It is best to avoid brushing right after eating or drinking. When you eat or drink, the acidic ingredients from the food will be mixed with the saliva in your mouth which will slowly start dissolving your tooth enamel. Enamel is the part of the tooth which protects it from cavities. It is therefore recommended to wait for at least half an hour after eating to brush, in order to give your saliva sufficient time to neutralize the acids. This has to be strictly followed while consuming acidic foods (like tomatoes and citrus fruits) or acidic beverages (like coffee, orange juice, carbonated drinks etc).
Not rinsing after eating or drinking
You should make a habit of rinsing your mouth with water after a meal. This simple practice will dislodge the remaining food particles from your teeth. More importantly, it will help neutralize the acids left in your mouth after eating or drinking, and can also help reduce discoloration from the dark-colored beverages.
Not cleaning the tongue
One of the most overlooked parts of your oral health is the tongue. Food debris and bacteria accumulate on the tongue throughout the day, which can lead to bad breath. Bacteria that collect on the tongue and cheek can even get transferred to your teeth, facilitating tooth decay. It helps to brush your tongue, cheek and roof of the mouth with a toothbrush at least once a day to get rid of the bacteria. Alternatively, you can use a tongue scraper to clean your tongue.
Water plays an important role in good oral health. Dry mouth facilitates the growth of bacteria, which can contribute to bad breath and tooth decay. It is recommended to drink at least eight glasses of water every day for the overall well-being of your body and staying sufficiently hydrated will maintain the moisture in your mouth.
If you would like any further information on the above, kindly reach out to your dentist or any dental clinic in Dubai.