Every day care of your teeth is essential for maintaining good oral health. Important activities like brushing and flossing have a major impact on your dental health. A healthy mouth will help to avoid dental problems, pain associated with dental conditions and tooth loss. There are some important areas which require special dental care advice. These include:
Oral hygiene care
It is essential to practice proper oral hygiene every day for oral health protection.
- You should follow a healthy diet and avoid or limit snacks between meals.
- Follow the practice of brushing your teeth at least twice a day.
- Floss regularly
- Have regular dental check-ups
- Replace your toothbrush after a few months or when the bristles are worn out
- Remember to consult your dentist whenever you feel that you are beginning to have some oral problems.
Care after tooth extraction
A severely damaged, infected or decayed tooth needs to be extracted if there is no other treatment available to cure the tooth infection. Tooth extraction can prevent spread of the infection to other areas of your oral cavity. The following tips may speed recovery after tooth extraction.
- After 24 hours of tooth extraction, rinse your mouth several times a day with warm salt water to relieve pain and reduce swelling.
- Make sure you change the blood filled gauze pads regularly.
- Avoid physical activity as it may increase bleeding.
- Include soft food into your diet and gradually add solid food as the wound heals.
- Avoid smoking and rubbing the area of extracted tooth with your tongue.
- Clean your teeth and tongue carefully.
- The sutures used after tooth extraction may be either dissolvable or may require removal after a few days. Your dentist will inform you regarding removal of the stitches.
Dental implant care
Maintaining good oral hygiene is very crucial for sustaining dental implants. You should blush and floss regularly, clean inter dental spaces (space between the teeth) and visit your dentist regularly after having a dental implant. Make use of an antibacterial toothpaste to prevent infection. Inadequate oral hygiene may result in loss of implant and cause mucositis (inflammation of the gums), which when not treated may result in loss of bone around the implant (peri-implantitis). This condition leads to failure and loosening of the implants. Some tips for having long lasting implants include:
- Avoid smoking
- Thorough cleaning and implant care is essential. Maintain good oral hygiene.
- Go for regular dental check-ups wherein your implants, teeth and gums will be cleaned and checked. Regular check-ups may also prevent the occurrence of peri-implantitis and mucositis.
Dental care in babies
Dental care in babies includes:
- Start cleaning your baby’s teeth as soon as the first tooth appears with a soft washcloth or gauze. It is necessary to wipe the front and back of each tooth twice a day. You should start a soft toothbrush at 12 months and brush your child’s teeth with just water until 18 months of age.
- If you use dummies (pacifiers, comforters) for your infant, you shouldn’t allow the dummy to be shared with other children. Avoid use of the dummy after your baby is 12 months old. Overuse or incorrect use of dummies can cause several dental problems such as breathing through the mouth instead of nose, incorrect positioning of teeth and speech problems.
- If your child shows possible signs of teething like restlessness, red and swollen gums or placing objects in the mouth; give your child something to bite on like a teething ring for temporary relief. If your baby or toddler has fever or diarrhoea during the teething period, you should consult your Paediatrician for advice.
Care for dental braces and retainers
Braces, rubber bands, springs, wires and other appliances attract food and plaque, which can result in stained teeth. It is recommended to brush and floss your teeth after every meal to remove the food particles from your braces. Avoid hard or tough to bite, chewy food and bubble gums while wearing braces. Make sure you brush your retainers when you brush your teeth. Disinfect the retainers by soaking with denture cleansers and rinse it before placing it back into your mouth. Wear a mouth guard if you participate in sports while wearing braces.
Advice to help prevent tooth erosion
Tooth enamel can be prevented from erosion by reducing acidic drinks and foods, such as citrus fruits and carbonated drinks. You should rinse your mouth with water after consuming acidic foods or chew gum to increase the flow of saliva in your mouth and prevent erosion of the enamel. Consume more water if you have low saliva problems or dry mouth. Avoid aggressive brushing and use a soft bristled toothbrush. Treat disorders such as alcoholism, or gastrointestinal reflux disease to avoid acidic oral cavity. Your dentist may also suggest toothpaste to reduce sensitivity and protect the enamel against acid erosion.
Lifestyle advice for healthy teeth
The key to maintaining proper oral health is taking good care of your teeth along with your general health. Guidelines to follow include:
- Practice regular oral hygiene care.
- Eat a healthy diet and include foods from different groups such as fruits, vegetables, high protein foods, and some dairy products.
- Limit the quantity of sugar to prevent tooth decay.
- Avoid smoking as it stains the teeth, causes bad breath and increases the risk of gum disease as well as affects your overall health.
- Avoid excessive consumption of alcohol as it erodes the teeth enamel and causes decay.
Minimise the consumption of tea or coffee to avoid staining of your teeth.