5 Essential Skills for
Maintaining Your Oral Health
You must have heard many dental health experts saying, "Taking care of your oral health is essential for your overall health and wellbeing."
However, it can be easy to let our oral health fall by the wayside for two reasons.
One, we don't fully understand the true importance of oral health. And two, we don't know effective techniques or skills to keep our mouths healthy.
So today, let's go through five essential skills for maintaining your oral health. But first, let's understand the importance of oral health.
The Impact of Oral Health on Our Lives
Our mouth is the gateway to our body. What we eat and drink goes through our mouth and into our digestive system. Likewise, much of the air we breathe enters our lungs through the mouth.
These are two important reasons why oral health is essential for overall health and wellbeing.
With that said, let's look at how poor oral health can affect our health in general.
Periodontal disease is an infection of the gums and bones that support the teeth. If left untreated, this disease can lead to tooth loss.
In addition, research has linked periodontal disease to other chronic conditions such as diabetes, stroke, and cardiovascular disease.
Dental caries, also known as cavities, are caused by plaque build-up on teeth, which is a sticky film of bacteria. If you’re unsure about how that’s different from tartar, Putney Dental Care explains the difference between plaque and tartar here.
When left untreated, the severe pain from dental caries can significantly damage your quality of life, disturbing your eating and sleeping routines. Moreover, severe dental caries can possibly cause chronic systemic infection.
Oral cancer is a serious and painful condition that can affect your tongue, gums, lips, and other parts of the mouth. Moreover, oral cancer is linked with unexplained weight loss and changes in speech, both of which damage your overall wellbeing.
Halitosis, or bad breath, is caused by bacteria build-up in the mouth due to uneven tongue surface. This condition can be worsened by poor oral hygiene, gum disease, or certain foods.
Halitosis can be embarrassing and may lead to anxiety, damaging your social interactions.
Dry mouth, or xerostomia, is a condition where you have decreased saliva production. This can be due to certain medications, mouth breathing, or salivary gland dysfunction.
Dry mouth can lead to an increase in plaque, cavities, bad breath, and can possibly cause periodontal diseases. In addition, it makes chewing dry foods difficult, which can reduce your quality of life.
These are just a few ways that oral disease can affect our overall health — there are many more!
But now that we understand the importance of oral health, let's look at the skills you need to maintain it.
Essential Skills for Maintaining Your Oral Health
1. Brushing your teeth correctly and regularly
It's important to brush your teeth correctly at least twice a day — once in the morning as soon as you are up or after breakfast, and once at night just before bedtime, when you are sure you won't be eating anything else.
While brushing, be sure to use fluoride toothpaste and clean all surfaces of your teeth using a circular, back-and-forth, and up-and-down motions.
2. Flossing daily
Many people brush daily but never floss. You should know that flossing is as important as brushing and should be done at least once a day. Make sure you know how to floss correctly and ensure that you floss between all of your teeth using a gentle back-and-forth motion.
3. Eating a healthy diet
A healthy diet is essential for a well-functioning body, but it's also critical for excellent oral health. For example, Vitamin C is necessary for healthy gums. People who are deficient in Vitamin C develop scurvy, a condition where the gums start to bleed.
This is because Vitamin C plays a vital role in maintaining the integrity of your blood vessels. Without this nutrient, your blood vessels become weak, leading to gum bleeding.
Vitamin D is another important nutrient for oral health. It helps the body absorb calcium, which is necessary for strong teeth. Good sources of vitamin D include fatty fish, eggs, and fortified milk.
So, educate yourself about the essential vitamins your body needs and try to get them through natural foods like fresh fruits, green vegetables, and whole grains.
A healthy diet will reduce your risk of plaque, tooth decay, gum disease, and other oral conditions.
4. Staying hydrated
Drinking plenty of water is good for your overall health, but it's especially beneficial for your teeth and gums.
Water helps rinse away food remnants stuck in your teeth, keeping your mouth clean and moist. It also helps fight against cavities and plaque, and also plays a key role in remineralization and strengthening the enamel.
5. Mastering self-control and avoiding junk
It's essential to have self-control when it comes to maintaining your oral (and overall) health.
So, make sure you stay away from sugary and acidic foods and drinks. These foods can significantly damage your teeth and lead to cavities, tooth decay, and plaque formation.
Also, try to avoid junk food as it often contains excess salt and sugars, which are bad for oral health. Plus, junk food has more chances of getting stuck in your teeth than healthy food, increasing the risk of bacterial infection.
Bonus Tip: 6. Befriend your dentist
Last but not the least, visit your dentist at least twice a year for regular check-ups and cleanings.
During these appointments, your dentist will examine your mouth for any signs of oral disease and recommend any necessary treatments. Being regular and consistent about your dental appointments is one of the most important skills you can develop to improve your oral health.
So, make sure you brush and floss daily, eat a healthy diet, stay hydrated, and visit your dentist regularly. These habits will ensure that you have a healthy mouth and a beautiful smile that you can be proud of.