Let’s not limit our oral health to just oral hygiene day. Cleanliness of your mouth tells a lot about your overall health. DR RIYA GUPTA answers some of the frequently asked questions, which every individual should be aware of
Why is oral hygiene important?
Our body is made up of many complex systems. Each system works in harmony with the other system. In the same way, our oral health is the gateway for overall health.
Researches have proven that if a tooth decay is left untreated, harmful micro-organisms from the tooth can travel to the heart and brain (through the bloodstream) and can lead to infective endocarditis and stroke respectively. It has also been noted that if a pregnant woman has poor oral hygiene, it can lead to malnourished infants. Many systemic diseases, for example diabetes in their early stage shows their reflection in our mouth.
What are some of the tooth friendly foods?
The foods we eat and our daily dietary pattern play an integral part in overall health and wellness of both the hard and soft tissues of our oral cavity.
Healthy diet rich in fruits and vegetables, lean proteins, milk, unsaturated fats benefit overall health.
For a good dental health, fiber-rich crunchy food should be chosen as compared to boiled vegetables like carrots, cabbage and spinach. These crunchy foods will help in secretion of saliva which will prevent food particles from sticking to tooth surface.
Milk is the best natural source of calcium. This helps in good growth of teeth and jaws. Milk is not only important for children growth but also for denture wearers to maintain optimum density of jaw bones.
Vitamin C helps in maintaining a proper gum health. Eating one piece of citrus fruit (like oranges, grapefruits or a kiwi) will prevent bleeding gums.
Citrus fruits should always be taken in moderation because acidic content in citrus fruit can lead to erosion of outer surface of tooth.
In this COVID Pandemic when it is of paramount importance to wear masks but wearing masks for long hours can lead to dry mouth which can lead to tooth decay. This can be prevented by drinking water at regular intervals.
What are the oral hygiene practices that reduces the risk of oral health problems?
A good oral health care routine keeps dental problems at bay. A good oral health care routine includes: -
Brushing twice a day with a fluoridated toothpaste and a soft toothbrush. This routine is also important for denture wearers they should also clean their dentures twice a day.
Tongue should be cleaned with a tongue scraper twice a day
After brushing, use floss or an interdental brush to prevent interproximal tooth decay.
Always change your toothbrush after 3 months
It is of immense importance to gargle with warm saline water twice a day this not only prevents COVID infection but promotes a good gum health.
Rinse your mouth with plain water, after eating to prevent food particles from sticking to teeth.
Avoid chewing tobacco and drinking alcohol as it can lead to oral cancer.
Do not use your teeth as tools for cutting tapes and tearing packets
Do not share your oral hygiene kit between each other’s as it can lead to transfer of harmful micro- organisms.
Regular dental check – ups after 6 months or as advised by your dentist helps in maintaining a healthy yet beautiful smile.
How can we enjoy sweets without harming our teeth?
Sweets and refined sugars are very tempting and are sometimes unavoidable.
It is advised to eat sweets before meal.
Always rinse mouth with plain water after eating.
Try consuming sweets and refined sugars only once a day because a single exposure of mouth to a large amount of sugary food is less cariogenic than multiple exposure of sugars throughout the day.
Avoid brushing teeth immediately after eating sweets this can lead to tooth erosion (wait for at least 15 to 30 minutes till then chew on fibrous fruits like apples)
Avoid sweets containing artificial color as it can stain your teeth
Oral Hygiene care for breast feeding mothers?
1st August to 7th August is also observed as “Breastfeeding Week “. It becomes important to say that breastfeeding has direct link with development of jaws in infants.
Mother’s breast milk is highly nutritious containing antibody and anticariogenic property which reduces the risk of dental decay in children.
Researches have even proven infants who are breastfed exclusively for 6 months have less chances for misalignment as compared to those who are bottle fed or partial breast fed.
Advise for breast feeding mothers –
Every effort should be taken to breast feed the babies exclusively for 6 months
During breast feeding, mothers should not neglect their oral hygiene.
They should not forget to brush their teeth, tongue cleaning, flossing twice a day and prescribed dental visit.
A mother with poor oral hygiene can transfer harmful micro-organisms to infants via kissing.
After breastfeeding, it is very essential to clean the gum pads of the child with a gauze piece or a cotton cloth. This will not only maintain a good oral hygiene but a routine will be created for cleaning gum pads.
Parents should also ensure that their children sleep with their lips closed and they do not develop habits like digit or thumb sucking
Increase in stress among breast feeding mothers might make them grind their teeth which can lead to tooth decay, tooth ache and sometimes jaw pain.
If someone is facing this issue it is of immense importance to visit dentist and your dentist might suggest you a night guard.
Every smile makes a person a day younger.
Dr Riya Gupta, Dental Surgeon