Routine Oral hygiene procedures and their importance
Oral hygiene is the practice of keeping the entire mouth and not just teeth clean to prevent dental problems like dental cavities, gum diseases, bad breath to name a few. Recent clinical studies suggest oral diseases and infections to be a potential risk factor for serious systemic diseases such as Heart attacks, Stroke, Bacterial Pneumonia, Low birth weight/Extremely High Birth Weight, Diabetic complications and Osteoporosis. Regular dental checkups, consistent follow-ups and timely treatments go a long way in maintaining good oral hygiene.
At home maintenance includes:
1. Brushing: It is recommended to brush teeth twice a day for a full 2 minutes to prevent acid build-up from the breakdown of food. After meals thoroughly rinse mouth with water to minimise the amount of food that would serve as substrate for the bacteria. When brushing teeth, position the bristles of the brush at an angle of 45 degrees near the gum line. Both the gum line and the tooth surface should be in contact with the bristles and brush using a circular/up-and-down motion, making sure to be gentle in order to avoid damage. The biting surfaces of the teeth should be brushed back and forth. Lastly, brush the tongue and the roof of your mouth to remove bacteria, which might cause bad breath.
2. Flossing: Accumulation of food between teeth where a brush does not readily reach causes irritation to the gums, allowing the gum tissue to bleed more easily. Flossing removes plaque and decaying food remaining between the teeth. It is recommended once a day,preferably before brushing so fluoride toothpaste that follows has better access between teeth. Floss under visible areas by curving the floss around each tooth instead of moving up and down on gums. Bleeding gums are normal upon first usage of floss, but will stop as gums become healthier with use.
3. Interdental brush: An interdental brush, also called an interproximal brush is used for cleaning between teeth with gum loss and between the wire of dental braces and teeth. The ISO brush sizes range from 1 to 7 and an appropriate size is chosen depending on the size of the gaps in between teeth.
4. Tongue cleaners: Tongue cleaners are used for removing build-up on the tongue. Proper use of a tongue cleaner can improve breath and reduce plaque.
5. Oral irrigators: Oral irrigators are another way of cleaning teeth and gums. Oral irrigators reach 3–4 mm under the gum line using a pressured, directed stream of water to disrupt plaque and bacteria.
At the dental office maintenance includes:
1. Teeth cleaning: Severe gum disease causes at least 1/3rd of adult tooth loss. Plaque causes inflammation of the gum that bleeds easily on touch. If not treated, bone around the tooth can be affected eventually leading to periodontitis causing teeth to become loose. Teeth cleaning is the removal of dental plaque and tartar from teeth to prevent gum disease and tooth decay. It is recommended that teeth be cleaned professionally twice per year. It includes tooth scaling , tooth polishing followed by fluoride application.
2. Dental sealants: Tooth decay is the most common global disease. Over 80% of cavities occur inside fissures in teeth where the toothbrush, saliva or fluoride toothpaste cannot reach the food left trapped after every meal, unlike easy-to-clean parts of the tooth, where fewer cavities occur. Dental sealants cover and protect fissures and grooves in the chewing surfaces of teeth, preventing food from becoming trapped thus preventing the decay process.