Oral hygiene is incredibly important, whether you are two years old or sixty-two years old. Unfortunately many trips to the dentist are negatively associated with intrusive mouth examinations, dry rubbery gloves pressing against your gums and the inevitable fear that we have gotten a cavity, need a filling or even worse; need something taken out.
A general fear of the dentists leads to poor dental hygiene and the cycle repeats itself. Undoubtedly one of the best ways to avoid spending excessive amounts of time in the dentist’s chair getting cavities poked and prodded at is to take extra good care of your teeth. And part of that is arranging regular check-ups with your dentist and listening to the advice they have to give you.
Healthy teeth are happy teeth and if you have healthy teeth then those teeth are likely to last a very long time. Good dental care should be as big a part of our daily hygiene routine as simply going to the toilet or washing our hands before a meal. People can however, in their rush, become complacent with substandard dental hygiene and this leads to a whole range of health problems.
Take a look at our advice for a proactive approach to making sure that your teeth remain healthy for as long as you still need them!
Teething Habits – The Good and the Bad
There are good habits and there are bad habits with any behaviour. What is important is that you recognise and realise which habits you can encourage and which ones you should try to refrain from completely. Brushing your teeth regularly, naturally is a good habit and one that many people try to reinforce from a young age as children, particularly if they have children of their own. Less healthy habits are nail biting and pen or pencil chewing, as this causes unnecessary strain on your teeth and can damage them in the long term. Try to avoid these habits by making your hands busy, or by chewing gum.
Again chewing gum after meals or snacks can help to improve your dental hygiene. Try not to rely too much on chewing gum, however, as it can increase your appetite and because stomach aches if chewed too often. This is because your stomach is preparing for food which it will not receive, so only chew gum in moderation or to freshen up your oral hygiene after a meal. Fizzy drinks should be avoided, or drunk through a straw, as this prevents the drink from actually touching your teeth.
Rule of Three; Brush, Floss, Mouthwash
Good things come in threes! By brushing your teeth, properly flossing between the teeth to get rid of residue and using a suitable mouthwash, you provide an effective cleaning solution that soothes and cleans your entire mouth, leaving you fresh and ready for the day ahead. Often flossing is the part that people find hardest to cope with, or the most tedious, so it may take some getting used to. Don’t worry if your gums bleed a little; that is natural. What is important is that you manage to get in between the teeth to shake loose any excess food that your toothbrush may have missed.
Leave the mouthwash until last in order to help completely wash out all those loose food particles and to leave your mouth with a fresh taste. There are a number of different kinds of mouthwash, including antibacterial mouthwashes, others with anti-inflammatory and anti-fungal properties, so you can take your pick depending on what your mouth needs.
Regular Check Ups with Your Dentist
Taking that doomsday trip to the dreaded dentist can feel like being sent to the headmaster’s office office at school, and in some ways it is quite similar. If you have doubts about your own oral hygiene, or if you feel as if you may have been neglecting your teeth, you are far less likely to feel enthusiastic about going to the dentist. Nobody likes to be given bad news that they essentially already know, so by taking good care of your teeth in the first place, you help contribute to making these check-ups far more pleasant for everyone involved.
However you cannot simply avoid the dentist altogether, as they will be able to provide more insight into how you can take better care of your teeth in the long run. They may also be able to spot any issues you have ahead of time, such as impacted wisdom teeth, that may become a problem if untreated. Regular check-ups are as much a part of ensuring good dental hygiene as brushing your teeth every day, and the sooner we can accept that, the better.
While it can feel tedious to start with, as with any regiment, if you do it often enough it becomes routine. Soon you won’t even register the time you spend on dental hygiene, but it will certainly go a long way to increasing the strength and health of your teeth and gums, for good. The important part is that you make sure you keep it up, as there is no permanent ‘quick fix’ to things like your personal health. Put the effort in and feel the difference in your teeth and your smile.