Dental Health

What is dental health?

Dental health may also be referred to as oral health, oral hygiene, or dental hygiene.

According to WHO (World Health Organization), oral health is “a state of being free from mouth and facial pain, oral and throat cancer, oral infection and sores, periodontal (gum) disease, tooth decay, tooth loss, and other diseases and disorders that limit an individual’s capacity in biting, chewing, smiling, speaking, and psychosocial wellbeing.”

 

Who are professionals that can help maintain good dental health?

  • Professionals:
    • Dentist.
    • Dental hygienist.
  • Specialists:
    • Periodontist.
    • Orthodontist.
    • Oral and maxillofacial surgeon.

 

What happens if good dental hygiene isn’t practiced? Here are a few conditions that may result from lack of sufficient oral care:

  • Bad breath.
  • Dry mouth.
  • Canker/cold sores.
  • Tooth decay.
  • Tooth loss.
  • Oral thrush.
  • Gingivitis. 
  • Gum disease.
  • Cavities. 
  • Cardiovascular disease.
  • Dementia.
  • Respiratory infections.
  • Diabetic complications.
  • Increased likelihood of preterm birth.

 

Why is it important to practice good dental hygiene?

  • Maintain healthy teeth, gums, and tongue.
  • Prevent:
    • Bad breath.
    • Tooth decay.
    • Gum disease.
    • Conditions listed under the previous question about lacking good oral care.
  • Can help you:
    • Keep your teeth as you get older.
    • Ward off medical disorders.
    • Improve your appearance.
    • Increase your quality of life.

 

What are some ways to practice good dental hygiene?

  • Avoid tobacco.
  • Limit sugar, sodas, coffees, and alcoholic beverages.
  • Get proper nutrition.
  • Brush with proper technique.
    • The ADA (American Dental Association) recommends starting with your brush at a 45-degree angle at your gum line. Then, use short, back-and-forth brush strokes on the tops and sides of your teeth. Next, holding the brush vertically, use a few short strokes on the back of your teeth.
  • Brush often enough.
    • The ADA recommends at least two minutes, twice daily.
  • Brush with the right sized brush.
    • Aim for a toothbrush with a head and bristles that are small enough to reach your molars’ crevices.
  • Find the ADA seal.
    • This signifies that the ADA guarantees that the product will be safe and do a thorough job.
  • Floss correctly.
    • Use a piece of floss approximately 18” in length.
    • Use a new, clean section of that floss every few teeth.
    • Create a “C” shape by wrapping the floss around each tooth.
    • Floss at least once daily.
  • Use mouthwash.
    • Can help reach places that your toothbrush and floss missed.
  • Use a clean brush.
    • Rinse it after every use.
    • Let it air dry.
    • Avoid covering your toothbrush.
    • Don’t share toothbrushes with anyone, even family.
  • Replace your toothbrush.
    • Get a new brush every 3-4 months.
  • Clean your tongue.
    • Use a tongue scraper, and brush and scrape your tongue.
  • Visit your dentist.
    • See your dentist for regular, semiannual cleanings and checkups, at least twice per year.

 

 

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