Oral hygiene is one of those aspects of our health that so many of us know we need to tend to, but which much fewer of us know how to maintain to a high standard, save for the usual advice of brushing our teeth twice a day.
However, with as many as eight in 10 Irish people having some form of gum disease according to the Irish Dental Association, it makes sense to at least familiarise yourself with some basic oral hygiene tips.
Brush your teeth properly
Everyone knows about the importance of doing this, but do you know the right technique? Your toothbrush’s bristles should be positioned at a 45-degree angle, coming into contact with both the gum line and tooth surface.
You should use a back-and-forth, up-and-down motion to brush the outer surfaces of your teeth, doing so gently to avoid bleeding. A similar process should be used for the inside surfaces of the teeth and gums. You should also brush the roof of your mouth and the surface of your tongue to remove the bacteria responsible for bad breath.
Although brushing at least twice a day is recommended to prevent the build-up of acid resulting from the bacterial breakdown of food, if anything stops you doing this, you can at least minimise the amount of food serving as a substrate for such bacteria by thoroughly rinsing your mouth with water after eating.
Flossing is seen as a bit of a chore by some, especially those who lack the time to even brush. However, it’s an essential part of a good oral hygiene routine, not least it as it reaches those areas deep between the teeth that toothbrush bristles and even mouthwash so often can’t.
By flossing at least once a day, you can remove the food particles and other substances that can otherwise so easily damage teeth.
Limit coffee, alcoholic and sugary drinks
These drinks do contain lots of phosphorus, which is a key mineral for oral health. However, too much of it can lead to such dental hygiene issues as gum disease and tooth decay, due to a dip in your body’s calcium level.
Water and milk are the best-advised beverages for those wishing to safeguard their oral hygiene – the former due to its hydration capabilities, and the latter on account of its role in strengthening teeth and building tougher enamel.
Keep your equipment clean
It takes just a few moments to rinse your toothbrush thoroughly with water, but it makes such a difference to your oral hygiene.
Remember to also store your toothbrush in an upright position, allowing it to air-dry until you use it again, as well as to ward off contamination by keeping it separate from other toothbrushes in the same holder.
These aren’t the only commonly useful oral hygiene tips, but they can nonetheless make all of the difference to ensuring that your teeth remain clean and debris-free, and your gums pink and resistant to bleeding or pain when you brush them.
Data provided by BF Mulholland.