A Few Tips on Oral Hygiene
Created | Updated Jan 28, 2002
Do you have gums that bleed? Sensitive teeth? Or fears about your breath? If so, here are a few straightforward guidelines to help you to gain better oral hygiene. They are easy to implement and don't require expensive lotions, potions or equipment.
To combat the problem of gums that seem to bleed whenever even slightly irritated, the way one brushes one's teeth must be examined. For example, to avoid actually brushing the gums away and exposing the sensitive roots of the teeth, a relatively gentle 'up and down' brushing motion should be used. Brushing from side to side frenziedly might feel like you're really stripping the plaque and tartar from your teeth, but this can literally leave notches in the softer dentine found below the gumline and cause recession of the gums themselves.
Another basic piece of advice is to attempt to clean the areas between one's teeth gently using a couple of toothbrush bristles or floss. This is to remove any hidden pieces of food from the gaps between teeth, which can lead to decay which is not easy to detect until the point of toothache, or gum disease.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, smoking is also bad for the gums. It may not become apparent for years, but it certainly affects the deterioration of the gums in later life.
Using various specialised toothpastes to prevent painful sensitivity is one method of tackling this problem. One useful thing to remember is that the way you rinse your mouth after brushing your teeth can have a profound effect. If you generally use a mouthful of cold water to rinse, and the prospect of ice-cream or scalding hot tea makes you wince, try using warm water for the nightly rinse. It can make a world of difference.
A great deal of instances of bad breath are purely the result of oral hygiene that could be improved upon. Using antiseptic mouthwash is a good place to start, but a simpler thing to try is to drink plenty of water to prevent the mouth from becoming dry.
One habit which proves beneficial is using your toothbrush to clean towards the back of your tongue. Once again, it is vital to dislodge stuck pieces of food to stop them actually rotting in your mouth.
The Dangers of Soft Drinks
If you think that having soft drinks is less damaging to oral health than eating sweets, then think again. A typical 330ml can of soft drink has the equivalent of five teaspoons of sugar in it, and the carbonated water has an acidic affect on the teeth. Even the currently popular ranges of vitamin-fortified juices that purport to be healthy fruit-based options are loaded with sugar, as is tonic water. If you go to your local club and buy energy drinks to keep you going all night, or need a carbohydrate boost from a sports drink during exercise, be advised that these beverages also contain vast levels of sugars and acids. This, combined with the fact that when clubbing many people neglect to brush their teeth afterwards because they're too drunk or tired, can add up to a dental nightmare.
Soft drinks can permanently etch marks in one's teeth. The tooth surface can become so degraded that it loses its shine, becoming chalky and brittle.
The Most Important Piece of Dental Advice
Visit your dentist regularly, and if you have any genuine and serious concerns about your oral health, consult the professionals as a matter of course.
You only get one set of adult teeth which have to last you your whole life.