Practicing good oral hygiene is your best way to prevent mouth disease including tooth decay and gum infection. It also prevents bad breath and helps to maintain the longevity of existing dental restorations.
Healthy teeth and gums make it possible to eat and speak properly, aid in digestion, contribute to a pleasing physical appearance and also helps overall physical health.
Good oral hygiene includes tooth brushing, flossing and sometimes mouth rinsing. Regular visits to the dentist will ensure problems are discovered early, thereby minimising the extent and cost of treatments.
Thorough brushing is advised twice daily. Proper brush placement is indicated in the image below.
You should brush for a minimum 3 minutes’ duration.
Electric toothbrushes are often a good option when manual dexterity is not as strong, such as in young children or the elderly.
Ensure you use a tooth-paste that has added fluoride.
Without flossing, food particles are left behind in between teeth and this then leads to decay.
Flossing should occur once a day.
Anchor the floss around your middle finger of each hand. Then use your index fingers to guide the floss between your teeth. Slide the floss up and down the sides of the teeth, extending it just under the gum line.
Flossing aids can be helpful if manual dexterity is a problem
Mouth rinses can be used if desired. Ensure they are alcohol-free. Rinses with chlorhexidine will stain your teeth if used for a number of days, so avoid these rinses unless recommended by your dentist. The staining can be removed at a regular scale and cleaning visit.