From babies to elders, we all need to take care of our teeth and our mouth to keep it healthy so we can eat, talk and laugh at ease. If your teeth bother you with changes in temperature or chewing; if the gums hurt or bleed during brushing or flossing; or if you have persistent bad breath, visit your dentist. Any of these signs or others that you may notice indicate a problem that must be resolved as soon as possible in order to avoid further damage.
The teeth are very delicate and if we want to maintain them all our lives, we must give them meticulous care according to our risk factors (genetics, age, general health, medications, habits, saliva, environment, etc.), which in each one are different and they will determine the specific needs of each mouth.
The daily routine that we must perform at home is one of the most important part of mouth care. There are simple guidelines that each of us can take into account to prevent the development of tooth decay, gum disease and other dental problems. In most cases, proper mouth care involves brushing and flossing, along with going to the dentist on a regular basis. Prevention is the key to keeping your teeth healthy and a beautiful smile throughout your life.
Brushing the teeth
Brushing your teeth after meals and between snacks not only removes food debris, but also removes plaque, that sticky layer that forms on your teeth. If we have the opportunity to look at the plate through a microscope, we will see that they are the bacteria that cause most of the problems in the mouth. Therefore, removing the bacterial plaque that forms on the teeth is our main objective.
The mouth is the cavity of our body with more variety of bacteria. It is estimated that there are more than 500 types, since in the mouth they find the conditions of temperature, humidity and ideal nutrients for their development. In addition, the mouth will not be for holidays or on weekends. In this environment, bacteria are ready at all times for, as soon as we lower our guard, cause problems.
The dentist or dental hygienist can teach you the most appropriate way to brush your teeth and recommend the best toothpaste. Generally, a toothbrush with medium bristles and rounded tips will be less prone to injuring the gum tissue or damaging the tooth surface. The size, shape and angle of the toothbrush should allow each of the teeth to be reached for at least 2 or 3 minutes in a row. Eye with brushing the teeth with too much force or hard bristles, as it can cause tooth wear and retractions of the gums. Toothbrushes should be changed every few months. Otherwise, they cannot properly clean their teeth and can injure their gums.
We must use dental floss
To prevent tooth decay and gum disease, the bacterial plaque must be completely removed from all surfaces of the teeth. Your brush can not reach effectively between the teeth and below the gum line. Thus, frequently, both dental caries and gum diseases begin in these areas. That is why it is so important to use the dental floss daily as you brush your teeth.
Your dentist or dental hygienist can teach you how to use the dental floss properly and can advise you on how to do it in an easy way. With practice, flossing only costs a few minutes. It is enough to use it once a day between all the teeth, to be able to be at night, since it is when the mouth is more unprotected (by the decrease of the salivary flow) and the bacteria have more hours to produce damages.
There are also interdental brushes of different sizes which are used to keep your gums and the spaces between your teeth clean and healthy. In the case that you need them for different reasons (bone loss, fixed prosthesis carrier, …) your dentist or dental hygienist can help you select the most appropriate one, and teach you the precise way to use it to maintain your oral health.
Other products for oral care
In general, using a toothpaste with fluoride is very important, because fluoride, in addition to reducing the levels of bacteria, also promotes the demineralization of the surfaces of the teeth, making them more resistant to decay. In addition, there are a variety of mouth rinses, toothpastes and gums that can help maintain your oral health. Mouthwashes and fluoride tooth gels can be used to prevent cavities. Some mouthwashes and toothpastes contain ingredients with antibacterial properties and can help prevent or control gingivitis (inflammation of the gum). Some chewing gum, in addition to stimulating salivation (natural protection mechanism), contain xylitol, a natural sweetener that reduces the bacteria that cause cavities.
Periodic visits to your dentist
Going to the dentist is something that we generally do not want to do. We always find a good excuse to delay our visit, and we are not used to going if it does not hurt. The main reason to go to the dentist regularly is prevention. The main goal of dentistry today is to maintain the health of the patient, to prevent diseases of the mouth or detect them early in order to perform a minimally invasive or non-invasive treatment.
The diseases of the mouth are progressive and cumulative and are damaging our teeth little by little, without us noticing until it is too late, so visit your dentist periodically. Preventive or early-stage treatments are simple and inexpensive, comparing what happens if we do not go frequently to the dental clinic and let major damage occur that hinder the possible solutions and shorten the life of the teeth. Today we have more comfortable and safe materials and instruments, aimed not only at the repair (of problems) but also at the protection (preventive treatments) of the patient’s mouth.