Tuesday, September 17, 2013

World Oral Hygiene Day………healthy smiles

Alright, we are back from a long August break, I hope we all had a wonderful summer holiday. We restart the blog this September with an article on one of the important part of our body- the mouth. Globally, we celebrate the oral health day annually to remind us that healthy teeth, gums and mouth play a crucial role in our ability to carry out routine activities without bad breathe; tooth decay or painful toothache. The theme of World Oral Health Day 2013 is ‘Healthy Teeth for Healthy Life’. It reflects the major contribution oral health makes to our lives by boosting our morale, self-confidence and the health of our whole body.
Good oral hygiene keeps teeth free from dental plaque buildup, wands off cavities and fights bad breath. Routine oral hygiene should consist of regular brushing and flossing.  A healthy diet that's low in sugary foods is also an essential part of good oral hygiene. Regular dental visits every six months allow your dentist or dental hygienist to provide oral hygiene instructions and recommend oral hygiene products. Healthy teeth not only enable you to look and feel good, they make it possible to eat and speak properly.
Bad oral habits can affect your speech, chewing, self-esteem and overall health. Daily preventive oral hygiene care can help prevent dental problems from developing in the first place or from becoming too serious. Good oral hygiene practices are less painful and cheaper than treating dental problems once they develop.
The following tips can be applied to ensure you maintain a healthy smile for a long time.
·       Go on a white-teeth diet: Limit the use of red wine, kola nut, black tea, or smoking cigarettes or cigar, colas, gravies, and dark juices for these are teeth staining foods. Brush immediately after eating or drinking foods that stain teeth but for convenient teeth-cleaning action, eat an apple, raw carrots, celery, and popcorn. For best results, eat these after your meal.
·       Clean your tongue: Use a tongue scraper every morning to remove tongue plaque and freshen your breath. One major cause of bad breath is the buildup of bacteria on the tongue, which a daily tongue scraping is more efficient in eliminating plaque.
·       Gargle with apple cider vinegar or mouth wash: Do this in the morning and then brush as usual. The vinegar helps help remove stains, whiten teeth, and kill bacteria in your mouth and gums.
·       Brush your teeth with baking soda once a week: This will remove stains and whiten your teeth. Use it just as you would toothpaste. You can also use salt as an alternative toothpaste. Just be sure to spit it out so it doesn't count as sodium intake! Also, if your gums start to feel raw, switch to brushing with salt every other day.
·       Stay fresh: To check the freshness of your breath, lick your palm and smell it while it's still wet. If you smell something, it’s time for a sugar-free breath mint. When shopping for mouthwash, make sure it is alcohol-free because alcohol can dry out the tissues in your mouth, making them more susceptible to bacteria.
·       Practice flossing at all times: If you can floss without having to guide your work with a mirror, you can floss in your car, at your desk, while in bed, and before important meetings. In which case, buy several packages of floss and keep them in your car, your desk, your purse, handbag or nightstand. Flossing removes the cavity-causing bacteria left behind from food particles that get stuck between teeth.
·       Brush your teeth when you first get out of bed and before you get back in at night: These are the two most crucial times to brush your teeth because saliva (which keeps cavity-causing plaque off teeth) dries up at night, so it’s best to have all plaque cleaned off the teeth before sleep. Then it’s important to brush first thing in the morning to brush off plaque and bacteria (morning breath!) that may have built up while sleeping.
·       Conceal with color. Choose a medium coral or light red lipstick for these colors make your teeth look whiter, whereas lighter-colored lipsticks tend to bring out the yellow in teeth.
·       Frequent rinsing of the mouth: A mouth rinse, in addition to daily brushing and flossing, can increase the cleanliness of your mouth. Antimicrobial mouth rinses reduce bacteria and plaque activity, which cause gingivitis and gum disease. Fluoride mouth rinses also help reduce and prevent tooth decay.
·       Bacteria can live in your mouth in the form of plaque, causing cavities and gingivitis, which can lead to periodontal (gum) disease. In order to keep your mouth clean, you must practice good oral hygiene every day.
·       Brushing too soon after eating: Consuming acidic foods and beverages, such as sports and energy drinks, citrus fruits, wine, and tomatoes, can erode tooth enamel—the glossy outer layer of the tooth. Brushing your teeth too soon after eating and drinking these items can cause more damage because you are essentially brushing the acid into the teeth, not getting rid of it. Instead, you should rinse your mouth with water after consuming acidic foods and beverages and wait at least 30 minutes before brushing 
·       Not replacing your toothbrush often enough: Old toothbrushes are ineffective and harbor harmful bacteria that can cause infections. Toothbrushes should be changed every three to four months.
·       Using a hard-bristled toothbrush: A hard-bristled toothbrush coupled with an aggressive brushing technique can cause irreversible damage to your gums. Use a soft toothbrush and gently brush your teeth at a 45-degree angle, in a circular motion. Using a back-and-forth motion causes the gums to recede, and can expose the root of the tooth, making teeth extremely sensitive.
Routine care for your mouth (teeth, gum, tongue)
The following gives instruction on how to provide routine care for mouth.

• Place your toothbrush at a 45-degree angle against the gums.
• Move the brush back and forth gently in short strokes.
• Brush the outer tooth surfaces, the inner tooth surfaces, and the chewing surfaces of the teeth.
• Use the tip of the brush to clean the inside surfaces of the front teeth, using a gentle up-and-down stroke.
• Brush your tongue to remove bacteria and freshen your breath.
• Break off about 18 inches of floss and wind it around the middle fingers of each hand. Hold the floss tightly between your thumbs and forefingers.
• Guide the floss between your teeth using a gentle rubbing motion.
• When the floss reaches the gum line, curve it into a C shape against one tooth. Gently slide it into the space between the gum and the tooth.
• Bring the floss back toward the contact point between the teeth and move the floss up or down the other side.
• Hold the floss tightly against the tooth. Gently rub the side of the tooth, moving the floss away from the gum with up-and-down motions.
• Repeat this method on the rest of your teeth.
How can I get rid of plaque?
Plaque is a sticky layer of material containing bacteria that accumulates on teeth, including where toothbrushes can't reach. Many of the foods you eat cause the bacteria in your mouth to produce acids. They produce substances that irritate the gums, making them red, sensitive, and susceptible to bleeding. This can lead to gum disease, in which gums pull away from the teeth and form pockets that fill with bacteria and pus.  
The best way to remove plaque is by brushing and cleaning between your teeth every day.  Brushing removes plaque from the tooth surfaces. Brush your teeth twice per day with a soft-bristled brush. Use an antimicrobial toothpaste containing fluoride, which helps protect your teeth from decay. Clean between the teeth once a day with floss to remove plaque from between the teeth especially where the toothbrush can't reach.
Your teeth need a lot of care and attention to achieve LIFELONG good Oral health

Written by O’ Reese on behalf of En-pact Solutions Limited, 2013
Twitter: @O Reese2