Oral hygiene is important to your health. A variety of
conditions may arise due to the lack of proper oral hygiene such as bad breath,
dental cavities, toothaches and gum disease. Prevention is the key to good dental health.
example, the number of cavities can be reduced by the following:
- Nutritional counseling - consuming less simple
sugar (sucrose or table sugar) will reduce the number of acid-
bacteria in the mouth. Adequate dietary calcium, phosphorous,
vitamins A, D, and C promote healthy and strong enamel formation.
- Home oral hygiene - frequent tooth brushings
help reduce acid plaque damage to enamel, while frequent flossing
removes the acid plaque from the smooth surfaces between teeth.
If one cannot brush and floss immediately after a meal, he/she
should try chewing self-cleaning foods at the end of the meal.
These include apples and celery that are crunchy and help sweep
away food debris and plaque. Chewing sugarless gum for a few
minutes at the end of a meal can also help.
- Eating fewer snacks in between meals - every
snack is followed by an "acid attack" on the teeth.
Therefore, snacking all day causes the teeth to be bathed in acid
continuously. Fewer snacks and eating desserts only with meals
help to reduce the number of "acid attacks" on teeth.
- Fluorides - oral fluorides (fluoride tablets
or fluoridated water) strengthen the developing enamel and dentin
layers of children's teeth before they erupt. Topical fluorides
fill in the pores of immature enamel or small early cavities and
reduce cavities in already erupted teeth. Topical fluorides are
usually painted on by the dentist, and later supplemented at home
with topical fluoride gels.
- Sealants - sealants are plastic coatings painted
on the pits and fissures of chewing surfaces of back teeth (molars
and bicuspids), and are highly effective in preventing cavities.
Sealants are recommended for all permanent molars in children.
They are also used to reduce cavities in baby teeth and in adult
teeth that are cavity prone. The procedure is simple and painless,
and no anesthesia is required.
For much more about dental hygiene and dental care, please read the
following MedicineNet.com articles:
Last Editorial Review: 7/7/2004