Dental care to prevent tooth loss and gum disease:
With proper tooth care you can prevent tooth loss and gum disease and your teeth and gums can stay healthy throughout your life. Is it not better to prevent cavities before they begin? Brushing and flossing properly, along with regular dental check-up, can prevent tooth cavities /decay and gum disease.
How to take care of your teeth and gums to prevent tooth loss and gum disease:
1. Brush-off the plaque: If you want to prevent cavities, you need to brush twice a day to remove plaque, the transparent layer of bacteria that coats the teeth. It is better, if you brush after every meal. Brushing your teeth also stimulates the gums, which contributes in keeping your gums healthy and free from gum disease. Fluoride helps in preventing cavities, so always choose a toothpaste which contains fluoride.
When the plaque gets hardened it turns into tartar. Tartar is more damaging and difficult to remove. If such is a case, you need to use anti-tartar toothpaste and mouthwash, and as well need to spend extra time in brushing your teeth near the salivary glands (the inside of lower front teeth and outside of the upper back teeth).
If your teeth are sensitive to heat, cold, and pressure, you need to use special toothpaste meant for sensitive teeth. You are advised to check with your dentist about the sensitivity, as it may be due to some serious problem, like a cavity or nerve inflammation.
Tips for proper brushing:
(i) First thing you should do when you get up in the morning is brush your teeth. As otherwise the bacteria which have been multiplying while you were sleeping will go inside your stomach and system, which will lead to many disease, including heart and diabetes.
(ii) Brush for two minutes, twice a day (better if you do after every meal, but is must in the morning when you wake up and at the night before you sleep)
(iii) Use a soft toothbrush.
(iv) Use fluoride toothpaste to prevent cavities.
(v) Place a pea-sized toothpaste on the head of your toothbrush.
(vi) Make sure you brush all sides of your teeth.
(vii) Hold your toothbrush at a 45-degree angle to your gum line.
(viii) Gently brush from where the tooth and gum meet in small circular motions. Brushing too hard can cause tooth sensitivity and receding gums which can lead to loosening of teeth over time.
(ix) Do not press your tooth brush so hard so that the bristles get flat against your teeth, as only the tips of the toothbrush clean the teeth.
(x) To clean top of the chewing surface of your teeth, use short strokes making sure that the bristles get into the grooves and crevices.
(xi) Use small circular motions to brush the inside surfaces of your upper and lower teeth.
(xii) For the inside of your bottom front teeth and gums, hold the brush almost vertical in up-an-down position towards the bottom inside of the mouth and move the brush in small back and forth motions.
(xiii) For the inside of your top front teeth and gums, hold the brush almost vertical in up-an-down position towards the roof of the mouth and move the brush in small back and forth motions.
(xiv) Make sure to clean your back teeth along the gum line, as plaque and bacteria easily build up there because of saliva stream.
(xv) Gently brush your tongue and the roof of your mouth. Do not scrub. This removes decay causing bacteria and also freshens your breath.
(xvi) Make sure to replace your tooth-brush with a new one every three months.
2. Floss your teeth to prevent tooth loss and gum disease: Each tooth has five sides. Your toothbrush can clean 3 of the five sides. The two other sides, that is in between areas, can cause much of destruction and disease, including the foul smell. Remember gum disease contribute to life threatening disease like heart, stroke, diabetes and premature low birth weight babies. You need to do flossing to remove plaques and particles between your teeth, and under your gum lines. If this plaque stays between the teeth, it will get harden into tartar, which then will have to be removed by a dentist.
Tips about flossing:
(i) Choose a type of floss depending upon on how much space is between your teeth. The Dentists normally suggest un-waxed floss because it’s thinner and easier to slide through even small spaces.
(ii) Floss at least once a day.
(iii) Carefully insert floss between two teeth, using a back and forth motion. Gently move it towards the gum line. Don’t press hard against your gum line.
(iv) Repeat this process between your teeth wherever you can.
3. Eating right: Sugary or starchy foods, soda drinks, sugary gums, and hard sucking candies are bad for your teeth. These foods produce acids in your mouth or stick to your teeth and are harmful for your teeth. Eating sugar is a major cause of tooth decay. It’s not only just how much sugar you eat but also when and how you eat is also important to keep your teeth healthy.
Tips about eating right to prevent tooth loss and gum disease:
(i) If you must then ensure to eat sugary or starchy foods with a meal as they will be then less harmful as compared to when they are eaten alone. As the saliva production while you are eating meals increase which washes away the sugar and bacteria.
(ii) Avoid eating sugary foods before you sleep (especially if you don’t have the habit of brushing your teeth before you sleep), because you do not produce saliva while you are sleeping.
(iii) Eat less of foods that stick to your teeth, like, chips, breadsticks, crackers.
(iv) If after eating, you cannot brush your teeth then rinse your mouth with water or mouth wash or chew sugarless gum.
(v) Prefer drinking water instead of soda or sugary juices.
4. Visiting the Dentist: Visit your dentist twice a year to prevent tooth decay, gum disease and other disorders. This is important to check how far your way of brushing and flossing is effective in removing the plaque at home. The dentist will check for any signs of cavities or gum disease. It is not only important that how many times in a day or how long you spend your time to brush and floss your teeth, but more important is whether you are doing it in the right way. Show how you are brushing or flossing your teeth to the dentist so that he may help you in teaching the best way to brush and floss. It is important for you to effectively reach and remove the plaques / adherent biofilm surrounding each one of your teeth.
5. More tips for general health of your teeth and gums:
(i) Use linear motions to brush the top sides of your teeth (chewing surfaces)
(ii) Chew sugar-less gum between meals. This will help in cleaning your teeth and keep your mouth moist, which is good for your teeth.
(iii) Avoid smoking, as it causes bad breath, gum infection and bone loss.
(iv) Some tooth-pastes now available can actually reverse cavities by re-mineralization and can provide protection to those areas which are on the verge of breakdown. Consult your dentist for these new prescription toothpastes.
(v) In case you are having sugary drink, wash your mouth with water afterwards.
(vi) Avoid using tooth pricks, they can lead to gum disease.
(vii) Do not brush your teeth right after big meal. Do it after half an hour.
(viii) Do not swallow mouth wash.
(ix) Do not use brush with hard bristles, as this can scratch away the polish, tooth enamel/protective layer.
(x) Avoid biting hard objects as it can cause fissures or crack in your teeth.
(xi) Do not chew gum constantly.
(xii) Use tongue scraper or alternatively your brush to remove plaque on your tongue. This will freshen your breath and slow down the accumulation of plaque on your teeth.
(xiii) Use a fluoride /anti-bacterial mouthwash to strengthen your teeth enamel and prevent tooth decay. Teach children to not to swallow it.
(xiv) Beware of the over-the-counter teeth whitening products. They may contain bleaching agents which can harm your gums and mouth. Consult your dentist before using them.
Follow the above outlined tips to prevent tooth loss and gum disease to maintain healthy teeth and gums to enjoy life.