Oral or dental problems are one of the most common diseases affecting humans and one of the least treated. Oral health can be a reflection of our body’s general health. Keeping a good oral hygiene is much more important than we think. Many diseases and health problems can be related to our oral health. Ideally, we should get used to having good cleaning habits from an early age. It is important to encourage these habits to children, as they love sweets and treats so much.
Studies show that oral diseases affect half of the world’s population, with tooth decay being the most common condition. Besides causing pain, discomfort and disfigurement, there are other problems related to poor oral hygiene like periodontal gum disease, which may result in tooth loss, oral cancer, noma, which is a condition affecting mostly malnourished children, and even death.
Our mouth is full of bacteria. Usually a good oral hygiene will be a great ally along with our natural defenses to keep these bacteria under control. But when a person has bad oral habits, those bacteria can grow in number and pass into the bloodstream reaching different organs in our body and causing disease. In addition, some diseases can decrease our immune system response, making these problems worse.
Lets review 7 Oral Health Tips and Tricks for a Healthy Holiday Season
As we mentioned above, bacteria can proliferate when our teeth are exposed to food that is rich in sugars and carbohydrates. These meals are abundant particularly during the holiday season. But if we follow these easy tips we will maintain our oral health in great condition and will be able to enjoy all the season’s delicacies with no worries.
Follow a balanced diet and avoid eating too much sugar.
Although this can be difficult to accomplish during the holidays, keep in mind that your teeth’s health may be at risk. Diets low in sugars and carbohydrates have been in vogue lately. They are successful for losing weight and keeping a healthy lifestyle. But what effects can these diets have on our oral health? As we know, bacteria feed on sugar and carbs. They break this sugars into acids, which in turn are responsible for decreasing the minerals that compose the tooth enamel, thus causing plaque build up and cavities. Whenever we eat, we need to make sure we clean our teeth in order to avoid this problem.
Brushing our teeth is a good habit that we should develop preferably from childhood. Dentists recommend to brush our teeth after each meal or at least twice a day. Make sure to use a fluoride-containing toothpaste that is ADA-approved. Fluoride prevents cavities from forming by stopping the breakdown of the enamel and increasing its regeneration. A good brushing should last for at least 2 minutes, and don’t forget the tongue!
This is a very effective and necessary procedure to prevent tooth decay. Dental floss is a thin cord that you can slide between your teeth to get rid of plaque and food particles. This is usually done after brushing to get into areas that a regular toothbrush can’t reach. Try to do it everyday, especially before going to bed. In this way you will make sure there are no food particles left between your teeth.
Nowadays there is a great variety of power flossers on the market. These flossers send a stream of pressurized water or air between your teeth, which like the cord flosser, helps to get rid of food debris.
Their effects depend on the type of mouthwash. The special thing to consider is that a mouthwash does not replace a brushing and flossing routine. Their main purpose is to refresh breath. Some of them can help protect teeth against acids because they contain fluoride. Others contain a variety of ingredients that battle bacteria and germs. They can also be helpful to remove traces or particles of food. No matter the type of mouthwash, be sure to read the label carefully and follow its instructions. Many mouthwashes are very concentrated and you will need to dilute them prior to their usage, otherwise they could become irritating. To use them swish the liquid around your mouth for at least 30 seconds and then spit it out. Avoid swallowing it.
Whether used in cigarettes, smoking pipes, cigars or chewed, tobacco causes many oral problems. Among these problems we could mention halitosis or bad breath, teeth discoloration, loss of jaw bone, inflammation of the salivary glands, leukoplakia, or the development of white spots on the mucosa, plaque build-up, gum disease and tooth decay. But of all of them there is no doubt that the worst consequence is the development of oral cancer. The risk of suffering an oral cavity cancer in a smoker is 6 times greater than that of a non-smoker.
Toothbrushes can grow bacteria, fungi and viruses, so after each use be sure to wash it well with clean running water and place it in an upright position for ventilation. After continuous use, toothbrushes lose their effectiveness in removing plaque from teeth and gums, as their bristles lose their strength. For this reason it is advisable to change it every 3 months.
Scheduled dental checkups
Regular visits to the dentist are necessary even if we have our teeth in good condition. Only the dentist will be able to do a profound cleaning to remove tartar that cannot be removed with a simple brushing at home. The dentist will also look for the presence of cavities or inflammations and will help us to solve the problem. For a person with good oral health, 1 to 2 visits per year will be enough. But if you are prone to cavities or infections, your dentist will give you a better advise on how often you should go for a check-up.
Nobody wants their Holiday season to be ruined by a toothache or any painful oral disease. Taking care of our teeth is as important as taking care of any other medical condition. The tips we mentioned before are the best way to engage into a good oral care. In reality, the important thing is to brush and floss your teeth after each meal. If you are not going to do it, make sure you don’t consume too much carbohydrates and sugars. Make sure to pay a regular visit to the dentist and take good care of your teeth because once you lose them, they will be gone forever! Besides, dental procedures are quite expensive, so good oral habits will help you save money.