Keeping your teeth and mouth healthy is important for your overall health too. Like other parts of the body, your mouth is naturally full of bacteria and with your mouth being the entry point to your digestive system and respiratory tract, some of these bacteria can cause disease. (1)
Oral Hygiene Routine
Follow these basic steps:
- Brush twice a day for 2 minutes
- Floss at least once a day
- Visit the dentist twice a year for routine check-ups
- Replace your toothbrush every 3 months
Best brushing practices
Apart from brushing for 2 minutes, twice a day, it’s important to brush effectively. It is crucial to remove dental plaque (a sticky, colorless film of bacteria) because plaque build-up can cause tooth decay and gum disease. Proper brushing helps remove food particles and plaque, thereby reducing the chance of tooth decay and gum disease. (2)
- Brush every surface – use a manual toothbrush to brush every surface of your teeth i.e. the inside surfaces, outside surfaces and chewing surfaces of your teeth, as well as cheeks. Try to brush gently in a circular motion, not roughly back and forth (3).
- Use a fluoride toothpaste – fluoride helps prevent tooth decay by strengthening the tooth’s hard outer surface called enamel. (4) Please note that fluoride toothpaste should only be used from the age of 2, unless your doctor or dentist advises you. (5)
Flossing helps to access the difficult areas between your teeth, in places that your toothbrush cannot reach. Try any of these for flossing (6):
- Dental floss – ease the floss gently between the teeth until it reaches the gumline. Curve the floss around the side of each tooth and slide it up and down.
- Floss holder – this small plastic tool holds a short piece of dental floss on one end and is shaped like a toothpick on the other. This is easier for some people to use than regular dental floss.
- Interdental brushes – these tiny brushes are specifically designed to clean between teeth.
Clean your whole mouth
Don’t forget to clean your entire mouth, including your cheeks and tongue.
- Clean your tongue, either using your toothbrush or with a tongue scraper. Clean your tongue when you brush your teeth, as it may help reduce bad breath and the risk of cavities, as well as contribute to a fresh-mouth feeling. (7)
- Use mouthwash, twice a day, after brushing and flossing. Depending on the ingredients, it may help with bad breath, fight gum disease and prevent tooth decay. (8)
If you have concerns about your oral health, speak to your dentist or doctor.