March 11, 2015
A healthy mouth is the gateway to a healthy body. A sparkling smile radiates confidence and a sense of general well-being. Conversely, problems in the oral cavity can be symptomatic of underlying systemic diseases. Therefore, good oral health is not only desirable, but essential.
In this article, let’s look briefly at how to achieve optimum oral health, both at home and through professional means.
Contrary to popular perception, it is not difficult to have a healthy mouth, and neither are visits to the dentist as painful and stressful as they used to be even a few years ago.
Why should you take care of your mouth?
• The mouth is a mirror to overall health; a healthy mouth indicates general good health.
• Inadequate oral hygiene is linked to systemic diseases like diabetes and high blood pressure.
• To prevent tooth decay, which in turn leads to sensitivity and pain.
• To prevent gum problems which cause unsightly tartar accumulation and a receding gum line, leading to the person looking ‘long in the tooth’.
• To prevent bad breath.
• To enable proper and complete chewing of food, which in turn helps in proper digestion and nutrient absorption.
• To have a beautiful and healthy smile.
The focus of dentistry has shifted from treating dental problems when they arise to preventing them occurring in the first place. Hence it is imperative to know the key aspects of Preventive vs Reactive dental care.
Preventive: What can you do to have a healthy mouth?
• Brush twice a day: The best time to brush is after breakfast and after dinner. Ensure that you do not eat or drink after brushing at night, and use the correct brush.
• Use fluoridated toothpaste: Fluoride helps make enamel more resistant to acid attack by bacteria and therefore reduces your risk of decay.
• Floss daily: Flossing is an important and very effective way to clean BETWEEN teeth where brush bristles do not reach. Use a gentle sawing motion, and always floss while looking in the mirror. Different types of flosses are available so choose the one that is right for you after talking to your dentist .
• Change your toothbrush every 3 months: To ensure that your toothbrush is cleaning your teeth effectively, you need to change it every three months, even though there may be no outward sign of wear.
• Quit smoking: Smoking leaves unsightly stains on your teeth, increases your chances of gum disease and of developing cancer of the mouth.
• Protect your teeth from injury: Wear custom-made protective mouth-guards while playing contact sports like football, hockey, wrestling or boxing.
• Food: Avoiding snacking, reducing your sugar intake, maintaining a healthy diet, avoiding carbonated soft drinks, and rinsing after eating or drinking something are some of the eating habits that helps to maintain dental health. Processed foods have an adverse effect on your teeth.
• General: Brushing your tongue, changing your tooth brush once in 3- 6 months, using your teeth only for chewing food and protecting your teeth from injury are some of the general rules worth following to ensure optimum oral health.
• Visit your dentist every 6 months: Schedule a dental appointment every 6 months, irrespective of the condition of your dentition. That way, your dentist will be able to examine your teeth thoroughly and nip any problems in the bud, and also undertake professional cleaning of yor teeth at regular intervals.
Reactive care: How do you correct what’s damaged, replace what’s lost?
God-given teeth are intended to last a lifetime. Unfortunately, years of neglect can take their toll and the resultant cavities and gum diseases cause discomfort and loss of aesthetics and function.
Thankfully, cutting-edge dentistry has made life-like replacements possible. Be it broken down teeth, decayed teeth or missing teeth, new-age dentistry offers a range of corrective options.
When you are in pain or experiencing any dental issues, visit your dentist as soon as possible. Treatment options are generally focussed on how a tooth can be healed and saved, and extraction is always the last resort. Some of the common dental treatments cover:
• Tooth filling: Nanocomposites are used to create fillings that are indistinguishable from natural teeth.
• Tooth replacements: Metal-free ceramic crowns and bridges allow dentists to produce replacements for missing teeth that look and feel exactly like natural teeth.
• Implants: Implants are used to replace missing teeth without involving adjacent teeth.
• Implant-supported dentures allow patients who’ve lost all their teeth to have a fixed set of artificial teeth that do not have to be taken out of the mouth at night unlike conventional dentures.
• Teeth whitening systems (dental bleaching) transform yellowing teeth or teeth with unsightly stains into gleaming pearly whites.
Dentistry today has evolved to the point where the vast majority of problems in the mouth can be fixed, and runs the gamut from restoration to replacement. The good news is that no matter where you stand on the dental wellness scale, you can achieve the optimum level of oral health and beauty by a combination of judicious home preventive care and regular professional consultation and care! As you can see from this article “Prevention is better than cure!”.
Dr Bennet Anchan can be reached at email@example.com and at +91 934 335 1611.