What is the number one thing most people do after getting out of bed? If you are thinking- Brushing your teeth, you got that right! Many of us brush our teeth twice a day. Once, when we wake up, and another when we head to bed. But how many can attest to being able to brush correctly?

This year, one of our New Year goals is to try and improve everybody’s dental health. One way is to have an excellent oral hygiene regiment; which means taking steps to keep your entire mouth clean and healthy.

Listed below is a short guide on how to improve your oral health:

1. How To Keep Your Teeth Cavity And Plaque-Free
2. How To Keep Your Breath Fresh
3. How To Keep Your Tongue Clean
4. How To Keep Your Gums Pink And Healthy
5. How To Deal With A Problematic Wisdom Tooth

1. How To Keep Your Teeth Cavity And Plaque-Free

Teeth are the center of every conversation about oral health. Much has been said about how to keep your teeth healthy. But most of it boils down to three things: brushing properly, flossing your teeth daily, and regularly visiting your dentist.

Dentists often advise our patients to visit once a year — this frequency increases for people who have a high risk of developing tooth decay and gum diseases. However, we have seen an increasing trend that many somewhat healthy individuals, go for long periods without checking in.

After reaching out to some of those people, we finally understand the rationale behind their absence.

As quoted from one said individual, “Whenever I attend the dental clinic, I go for a routine examination and a professional clean. There is no problem with my teeth. And this happens over and over again to the point that, I already know that when I visit, there will not be any problems.”

And this does make ALOT of sense. But we are also here to debunk this MYTH.

The tooth is the strongest when it is left alone, free of tooth decay, and free of fillings. It is made up for minerals and it also has nerves and blood vessels inside (yes it is very much ALIVE!).

So the problem is, tooth decay is an irreversible disease.

It starts first as a reversible loss of minerals to the tooth, which can still be easily fixed. At this stage, there is no pain, but the process has already started, It takes six months to a year to progress into tooth decay, and many of us only feel a toothache after it is too late. Sometimes, the tooth decay can be so severe that the tooth can no longer be saved. In Singapore, many older adults neglect their oral health; to the extent that some have never even seen a dentist.

So, to keep your teeth cavity and plaque-free, we would recommend you to have a dental check-up at least once a year to ensure your teeth stay healthy.

2. How To Keep Your Breath Fresh

Almost all of us would have had bad breath at some point in their life. While the condition is rarely severe, it is embarrassing and at worst, debilitating, especially for people who have to present in front of others for work.

Bad breath, or halitosis, can be attributed to various factors. The most probable cause of bad breath is bacteria. Bacteria occur naturally in the mouth and help break down food. The odour is a byproduct of this process and becomes a problem when there is an unnatural buildup of bacteria between the teeth, and on your tongue and gums. Left unchecked, this bacteria can cause tooth and gum decay.

Halitosis can also be a symptom of other, serious underlying diseases, like a stomach or liver infection. It can also be caused by diabetes or tonsillitis.

Asia Smile - he Ultimate Guide To Oral Hygiene

Some methods to keep your breath fresh are:

  • Properly brushing your teeth
  • Regular dentist visits
  • Staying hydrated
  • Eating a healthy diet
  • Not smoking and reducing alcohol intake
  • Scrubbing your tongue
  • Using mouthwash

There are also other ways of avoiding bad breath, some which do not even require you to reach for a toothbrush and can be done with everyday household items. For instance, you can keep your mouth moist with sugarless gum or sugar-free candies.

3. How To Keep Your Tongue Clean

The tongue is arguably one of the more neglected parts of the mouth when it comes to oral hygiene. “Tongue cleaning is a practice that is not highly discussed or valued within the dental community,” writes Dr. Jordan Davis of the American Dental Association.  But recent research says that the tongue holds a bigger part in oral hygiene than most think — 80 to 90 percent of the bacteria that cause bad breath can be found on the tongue.

Fortunately, cleaning your tongue is not hard. You can use a regular toothbrush to rub toothpaste over the area gently, or a tongue scraper, a plastic tool that peels off the layer of mucus and bacteria that builds up on the tongue. Scrape from the back to the front, to make sure you do not push debris back up instead of away from your tongue.

The tongue is also an indicator of underlying conditions like diabetes or vitamin deficiencies. Keeping your tongue clean can also help your overall health.

4. How To Keep Your Gums Pink And Healthy

A majority of people are at risk for gum disease, and might not even know it. Around 85 percent of the population in Singapore already have some form of gum disease.

To keep your gums a healthy shade of pink, it is advised to practice good oral hygiene. Avoid tartar formation, the leading cause of gum disease, by flossing on a daily basis. Regular dentist visits also help, as your dentist will be able to detect early signs of gum disease. Rinsing with mouthwash and after meals also keeps tartar and plaque from building up.

greens-onion-healthy-gums

You can also eat your way to healthier gums. Food such as onions and dairy contain bacteria-neutralising compounds that help keep gums and teeth clean.

Besides causing halitosis, smoking damages gum tissue and delays healing. So if you want healthy gums, kick the habit.

5. How To Deal With A Problematic Wisdom Tooth

Wisdom teeth can be helpful. However, for the overwhelming majority, they present more problems than benefits. An impacted wisdom tooth can cause pain, infection, inflammation, bleeding, and at worst, affect the alignment and health of neighbouring teeth.

The usual way of dealing with a problematic wisdom tooth is through extraction. Some 85 million people every year get their wisdom tooth taken out. The process is relatively straightforward. Patients get sedated, or the surrounding area will be numbed with a local anaesthetic. After extraction, the wound will be closed by stitches.

The recovery period can take anywhere from 1 to 2 weeks, but the discomfort usually lasts only up to 3 days after the procedure. During this time, patients are advised to avoid vigorous chewing and rinsing and to stop smoking to help the wound heal quicker. Patients can request to take over-the-counter pain medication such as Ibuprofen, but they should consult with their dentist first.

So, if you have a potentially problematic wisdom tooth, do check in with a dentist for more information.

At Dental Focus, our dentists stand ready to answer all your questions about oral health. Wondering if you need to get your wisdom tooth extracted? Need help dealing with a pesky bout of gingivitis? Call us at 6747 0573, or book an appointment by sending us a message.