Oral Hygiene Basics
Understanding oral hygiene basics allow people to better care for their teeth. However, the basics extend beyond the teeth — they pertain to the entirety of the mouth, including the gums, cheeks, and tongue. Oral health is critical to the body’s overall health.
Starting good oral hygiene habits early in life can set everyone up for a lifetime of not only healthy smiles but also healthy bodies. To get started with an oral hygiene routine, contact our Sandston Comprehensive Dentistry team in Sandston at 201-457-1010 to schedule an appointment.
The Importance of Good Oral Hygiene
The teeth are connected to the jaw bone in the face through the tooth’s roots. These roots are deeply ingrained in the bone to provide structure and strength to the mouth, which is important for biting, chewing, and speaking. Without an oral hygiene routine, the teeth risk the buildup of bacteria, otherwise known as tartar and plaque. This appears as a yellowish buildup on the teeth around the gum line.
Over time, if someone does not brush, floss, and rinse at home regularly and maintain their regular dental checkups, this buildup can start to affect the smile. If left alone, the bacteria can get beneath the gums and create dental pockets. These pockets occur when the gum tissue starts to pull away from the teeth. This may also cause gum recession, which may eventually expose the tooth roots. If the bacteria have access to the roots beneath the gum line, they may gain access to the body’s bloodstream.
Once the bacteria can enter the bloodstream, the entire body may be at risk. Starting and following an oral hygiene routine will help prevent the buildup of bacteria and plaque on the teeth and keep the body safe. To protect the health of the smile is to protect the overall health of the body.
Helping Family Members With Oral Hygiene
Since oral health can affect body health, it is important to teach children and others about oral hygiene. Someone should talk to family members about the importance of dental care. If any family member has anxiety about visiting the dentist, speak to the dental team about options to make the experience less intimidating. Either way, every member of the family should learn about oral hygiene and what they can do to take care of their smile.
Children and adults should have similar oral hygiene routines. There is a common misconception that a child’s oral health care is different or perhaps not as important since their baby teeth will fall out. Even though baby teeth are replaced by larger adult teeth, they are still connected to the jaw bone in the same way. With children, this buildup on baby teeth can weaken their adult teeth for the rest of their lives, putting them at a higher risk of decay and disease later. This is why dental professionals recommend that children start visiting their dentist regularly from an early age.
No matter the age, everyone should prioritize oral health and establish an oral hygiene routine to keep themselves healthy. As they age, however, their smile may indeed have different needs. Along the way, they will have the help and guidance of our dental team, so they should be open with them and discuss their concerns.
What to Include in a Dental Care Routine
A dental care routine will depend on the individual’s current oral health needs, but in general, most routines should include the following:
Everyone should brush their teeth twice a day with a dentist-recommended toothbrush and toothpaste. The right toothbrush should have soft bristles to prevent damage to the gums and tooth enamel. When brushing, use a small, pea-sized amount of toothpaste and move the brush against the teeth in a gentle circular motion. Move the toothbrush along the rows of the teeth at a 45-degree angle to brush at the gum line as well. Dental professionals recommend brushing for about two minutes. Make sure to get the top and bottom rows, as well as all surfaces of the teeth.
After brushing the surface of the teeth, everyone needs to floss to clean the spaces between their teeth. Flossing should be done at least once a day to remove anything that may have gotten stuck between the teeth and reduce the possibility of buildup. To floss, hold a piece of dental floss tightly between the hands with the thumb and index finger. Gently slide the floss up and down between the teeth, curving it at the base of each tooth to get beneath the gum line.
After flossing, everyone should rinse with a dentist-approved mouthwash. Most mouthwashes will contain a small amount of fluoride to help keep the teeth healthy between regular dental checkups. Depending on the circumstances, the dentist may make a recommendation. Some people may need a mouthwash to help with bad breath, dry mouth, or gum disease. To rinse, follow the guidelines on the mouthwash bottle. Typically this means using a small amount of mouthwash poured into a clean cup to swish around the mouth for about a minute before spitting it out.