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  • Writer's pictureRajeev Chitguppi

What one should know about good oral health maintenance

Updated: Dec 25, 2021

There are two types of dental diseases: Tooth-related: Dental Caries, or tooth cavities and related complications.

Gums-related: Early-stage: Bleeding gums (gingivitis); Late-stage: Loose teeth (periodontitis)

What causes these dental diseases?

A film of bacteria that is always present on our teeth and gums. It's called the dental plaque - not visible, but it will be present 24/7 in our mouth.

So your mouth contains bacteria all the time.

All bacteria are not bad. There are good bacteria too. As long as the good bacteria are in good numbers, you will not get any disease. Also, people who don't have any dental-related genetic defects will have very little risk of developing dental diseases.

In short, bad genetics with bad bacteria in the mouth is a bad combination. Genetics is complicated. We can't control it either. So let's focus on bacteria. We can control them.

So the keyword is "plaque control"

Control is the most precise word. We don't say plaque elimination or plaque eradication - just like we don't say blood pressure elimination or sugar elimination. We control blood pressure, we control sugar, also temperature. Similarly, we 'control' dental plaque.

So, let's learn plaque control.

Dental plaque is of two types - old and new.

What you have in the mouth before you brush your teeth in the morning is old plaque. It is already formed overnight. That's why it is called old plaque. You need to remove it mechanically - with hands. So you use a toothbrush.

Which toothbrush is good?

You should use a soft toothbrush that adheres to the international guidelines. A toothbrush that removes the plaque but at the same time protects the tooth surface without causing any harm. So you need a soft bristled toothbrush.

Check the link for a recommended toothbrush: Click here

Remember that a good toothbrush will give you good results provided you use it well. Learn the right technique toothbrushing: Click here

A simple yet powerful tip for effective oral hygiene: Don't brush as soon as you wake up. Brush after you have your breakfast and before you leave for the work. There is no point in brushing your teeth and then having your breakfast. This small modification in your lifestyle will go a long way.

Are toothbrushes enough to provide complete care?

Your toothbrushes clean on the front and back side of the teeth, whereas it's the area between the teeth that needs more care. Research has shown that a combination of the brushing and interdental cleaning improves oral health outcomes.

How to clean easily between the teeth?

Many people find dental flossing difficult. Instead, you can use a special type of floss with a holder that makes flossing convenient. Click here to know more

But the most convenient tool to use between the teeth is a proxabrush. It's convenient to carry in your pocket and you can use it in your office post-lunch.

Then what is the use of mouthwash?

Remember the plaque is of two types - old and new?

All brushing is done to remove old plaque. Once brushing is done, you can use a mouthwash for minimizing the build-up of new plaque. Mouthwashes form a layer on your teeth and minimize plaque build-up. Ask your dentist which mouthwash to use - he will prescribe a long-acting mouthwash made of Chlorhexidine gluconate.

Final advice:

Visit your dentist once in 6 months for a periodic check-up.

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