Everyone gets lazy now and then, and we stop putting in effort. We don’t brush or floss our teeth as often as we should. The repercussions are dire, and some of them are shocking.

This article will reveal the truth about what happens when you don’t take good care of your teeth. We also share the best practices of dental hygiene: what you should do to keep your teeth clean and breath fresh.

What is Oral Hygiene?

Oral hygiene is keeping your mouth clean. It’s how you protect your mouth from diseases and problems such as bad breath. It involves dental hygiene practices like regular brushing of the teeth and flossing.

Oral hygiene must be a regular practice to ensure you avoid dental diseases and bad breath. Some examples of dental diseases include tooth decay (cavities, dental caries) and gum diseases like periodontitis and gingivitis.

Usually, bad oral health is as a result of one’s own negligence. However, poor oral health can also be as a result of substance abuse as in the case of smokers. One of the side effects of crystal meth addiction is rotting teeth.

Most people are unaware of the far-reaching implications of oral hygiene. Did you know that poor oral health puts you at risk of heart disease? Bacteria that cause periodontal disease can get into your bloodstream, cause your arteries to accumulate plaque and harden.

The hardening of arteries is known as atherosclerosis. It’s dangerous because it causes blood flow problems, heart blockages, and may lead to a heart attack. You are also at a greater risk of hypertension, strokes, and endocarditic.

Poor oral health also puts you at risk of dementia, diabetes, respiratory infections, pregnancy complications, cancer (linked to gum disease), kidney disease, and rheumatoid arthritis.

Dental Hygiene Practices You Should Remember

1. Brush Your Teeth Regularly

  • Brush your teeth with toothpaste at least twice a day for two minute intervals. Here are the best brushing techniques as recommended by the American Dental Association:
  • Hold your toothbrush at an angle of 45 degrees against the gums.
  • Brush movements should be a gentle, back and forth in short strokes that are tooth-wide.
  • Brush not just the outer surface of the teeth, but also the inner tooth surfaces and the chewing surfaces.
  • Clean the inside surfaces of your front teeth using the brush’s tip in a gentle up-and-down stroke.
  • You must always brush your tongue to get rid of bacteria and get fresh breath.

Why You Should Brush Your Teeth Regularly

Bacteria build up in your mouth when you don’t brush your teeth regularly, causing bad breath. For fresh breath, brush twice a day and chew sugar-free gum after meals.

Plaque also builds up on your teeth when you don’t brush them. Plaque is a sticky, filmy substance that forms due to accumulation of food and bacteria. It can lead to gingivitis. If unchecked, the problem can worsen and become gum disease, causing inflammation of your gums.

Failure to brush your teeth will ruin your look as your teeth will become increasingly stained. Among the ingredients of toothpaste are mild abrasives like calcium carbonate which remove debris and surface stains. 

2. Flossing

Though most people don’t think flossing does much, it actually does about 40% of the work needed to eliminate sticky bacteria (plaque) from your teeth. Plaque is very dangerous because it generates acid, which can cause cavities, irritate your gums, and even cause gum disease.

A tooth has five surfaces. Brushing only reaches three: inner, outer, and top surfaces. Two remain hidden: the sides of the tooth. Only flossing can help you clean these hidden areas in between two teeth.

Flossing reduces your risk of getting gum disease and decay and is an essential part of the basic oral hygiene routine.

Since there are various types of flosses available, choose one according to your personal preference: waxed, unwaxed, flavored, unflavored.

There are Two Basic Forms of Floss

  1. Nylon (multifilament) floss – It comprises multiple nylon strands. It is stringy and can be broken apart. Nylon floss may be waxed or unwaxed.
  2. PTFE (monofilament) floss – It comprises a single strand. You can glide it in between tighter spaces than the nylon floss.

Here are the Basic Flossing Steps

  • Wind the ends of an 18-inch section of floss around the middle fingers of each hand. Hold the floss between the thumbs and forefingers – both hands.
  • Use a gentle rubbing motion to guide the floss in the regions between your teeth.
  • At the point where the floss reaches the gum line, curve it against one tooth in the C-shape, gently sliding it into the area between tooth and gum.
  • Bringing the floss back toward the contact point between the teeth, move it up and down the other side, conforming the floss to the tooth’s shape.
  • Repeat for all teeth.

Flossing Best Practices

You should floss your teeth once every day, sustaining it for two to three minutes. In fact, even 60 seconds of daily flossing will cause a significant improvement in your gum health.

The best time to floss is after a meal when you know there is food stuck in your teeth. For most people, this is after supper, just before they go to bed.

Be warned, however, that you should not go overboard with the flossing. It is possible to overdo it. Flossing too much may cause damage to your gums. Once a day is perfect.

3. Mouthwash

Mouthwash is a good complement to regular brushing and flossing. It reduces the acid in your mouth, re-mineralizes your teeth, and cleans the hard-to-brush areas in and around the gums.

Mouthwash is useful for children and older people since they may not brush or floss well enough.

It’s good to have some mouthwash around for the day you rush out without brushing your teeth because of a tight schedule.

Consult your dentist for mouthwash recommendations. Some brands are the best for children or for people with sensitive teeth. Prescription mouthwash products are also available.

4. Other Dental Best Practices

  • Drink water often – Drinking water after every meal washes out the negative effects of sticky, acidic foods or drinks.
  • Reduce intake of sugary and acidic foods – Sugar converts into acid, and acid erodes your teeth’s enamel, leading to cavities.
  • Eat foods that are good for your teeth – Calcium counters the acids in your mouth. It strengthens your teeth and bones. Milk, cheese, and other dairy products strengthen the enamel.
  • Visit your dentist at least twice a year.

Final Thoughts

That not cleaning your teeth can cause a heart attack is shocking. However, a seemingly unlikely consequence like that may not be enough to motivate you to practice good dental hygiene.

In that case, consider tooth decay, gum disease, and bad breath – motivated yet?

By following the good practices provided here, you can take control of your oral hygiene. Not only will doing this keep you healthy, it will also give you a boost of confidence thanks to your nice-looking teeth and fresh breath.

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