When people say that it’s important to practice good oral hygiene, what exactly do they mean? Essentially, it consists of brushing and flossing your teeth daily as well as seeing a dentist regularly for cleanings and exams. All of these things work together to keep your teeth and gums healthy! Here at the offices of Marshall S. Skopp, DMD, we offer top-quality dental care treatments and services for healthy and beautiful smiles. We’re here to help you understand just how important oral hygiene is and what you can do to keep your smile happy and healthy.
Oral hygiene is considered preventative care. That means you’re working to stop health problems before they begin. Cavities, bad breath, gum disease, and more can all be prevented with good oral hygiene practices. Believe it or not, your oral health affects your entire body! Infections in your mouth and teeth can spread anywhere else in your bloodstream, causing life-threatening complications. Heart disease and stroke are linked to infections within the mouth as well. You may also face cardiovascular disease, pneumonia, endocarditis, and even pregnancy complications.
Some conditions in your body can affect your teeth and gums if not properly treated as well. Conditions like osteoporosis, diabetes, HIV/AIDS, and Alzheimer’s disease can lead to the deterioration of teeth and gum disease if left unchecked, so it’s important to discuss these with your dentist.
It isn’t always to tell if you’re having issues with your gum or teeth, but there are some signs you can look out for. If you have chronic bad breath or loose teeth, it’s definitely possible that you’ll need to improve your oral habits. Bleeding or receding gums, toothaches, persistent mouth sores, and swelling of the jaw are also major indicators as well. There is also an infection of the mouth called gingivostomatitis caused by certain bacteria and viruses that is easily prevented with good oral hygiene.
To improve and keep up your oral hygiene, you need to develop good habits. One of the main things you need to do is brush your teeth at least twice a day. Use a soft-bristled toothbrush to protect your gums and enamel, and strengthen your teeth with fluoride toothpaste. You’ll also want to floss once a day to clean the spaces between your teeth. Don’t rely on water flosses alone! While they can help to remove some debris between the teeth, they don’t remove biofilm from the surface of your teeth. A step many people skip is brushing their tongues. It is filled with bacteria! Use your regular toothbrush or purchase a tongue scraper for a deeper clean. Antibacterial mouthwash is also great to add to your routine. You also need to make sure you’re visiting the dentist twice a year for exams and cleanings.