It is important to consider the relationship between your oral health and overall bodily health. In fact, research demonstrates that poor oral hygiene may significantly increase the risk for other systemic health conditions, such as diabetes and cardiovascular complications. Thus, maintaining proper oral hygiene is essential for your total health and vice versa.
Brushing and flossing
Our dentists at Aura Dental recommend regular brushing (at least twice daily) and flossing as well as scheduling frequent dental cleanings to keep your oral health in the best possible shape. As well, we recommend using regular water to briefly brush or rinse your mouth after eating lunch—doing so can significantly reduce bacteria in the mouth and maintain that fresh feeling.
Brushing, however, is only one part of the equation. Flossing allows you access to in-between areas of your teeth that cannot be reached by your toothbrush. This should be an essential part of your oral health routine because food particles and germs can settle in these areas and lead to the accumulation of bacteria.
Once this happens, dense bacterial colonies can produce an acidifying substance that deteriorates the enamel of teeth. Ultimately, this can lead to cavities and tooth decay. Thus, adequate brushing and flossing is absolutely necessary to prevent cavities, tooth decay, and ultimately, various gum diseases. Importantly, people generally spend about 1 minute brushing their teeth whereas studies and healthcare professionals recommend brushing for at least 2 minutes, twice a day.
Effective ways to brush your teeth
A manual toothbrush is an effective tool to remove plaque from teeth, which is a substance that can build up from the accumulation of bacteria and can lead to poor oral health. Plaque can eventually develop into calculus if left unmanaged, which can only be removed by a dental hygienist/dentist.
In general, it is best to avoid the back-and-forth motion that is commonly seen in movies and on television. Rather, our dentist recommends using a circular motion, while holding the brush at a 45-degree angle. Using a back-and-forth motion along with hard brushing can also significantly accelerate the rate of gum recession, or the rate at which your gums begin to “go away.” For this reason, it is best to use the circular motion described with light-moderate pressure to avoid damaging the gum line.
Aside from manual brushes, there is a wide selection of electric toothbrushes as well. These are effective at breaking up bacteria below the gum line and are a suitable alternative to manual brushes. Moreover, electric toothbrushes tend to provide a brushing motion for you, so you generally won’t have to worry about what kind of brushing motion to use.
Effective ways to floss your teeth
There are a couple of options to maintain a healthy flossing routine. One is by using dental floss—this is the standard and original method of flossing. Our dental care team will always floss your teeth during a dental cleaning and can demonstrate effective and safe ways to floss at home when you make an appointment with us.
Alternatively, there are effective methods that do not require a physical flossing material, such as water flossers. These tend to be more expensive but are user-friendly and effective alternative options that can be used to remove food particles and debris between your teeth. Water flossers essentially use high-powered streams of water that you control to essentially “blast” food particles and germs out from between your teeth.
Other ways to promote a healthy oral environment
It is important to remember that teeth and gums are like bones and muscles, respectively. By eating healthy foods, the nutrients and minerals in these foods not only promote overall bodily health, but also promote oral health.
For example, vitamin C is necessary to maintain healthy gums. In extreme cases, a lack of vitamin C in the diet can lead to a condition known as scurvy. While the consequences of scurvy involve a range of systemic issues, it also involves the presence of gum disease, indicating the close relationship between oral and systemic health. Finally, sugar-free gum is an excellent way to encourage saliva production in the mouth, which can aid in the removal of food particles that may be stuck in hard-to-reach areas. Saliva contains natural proteins called enzymes that can help breakdown food. So, releasing more saliva results in a more efficient breakdown of food particles and less cavities!