Oral hygiene is incredibly important. Over the course of the day, as we eat and drink, tiny particles of food will become stuck in our teeth and between the gaps in our teeth. If these particles are not cleaned, they will begin to rot and decay, leading to bad breath, and then to bacteria in the mouth. This can lead to a build-up of plaque, a sticky substance that coats the outside surfaces of teeth, and eventually tartar, which discolours the teeth. The ultimate consequences of bad oral hygiene are gum disease and tooth decay, which are unsightly, painful and can lead to tooth loss, affecting speech function and the ability to eat as normal.
Brushing and mouthwash
Brushing your teeth regularly is essential. Fluoride toothpaste should be used, as fluoride helps to strengthen teeth by binding with the enamel. Brush thoroughly, being sure to cover all tooth surfaces – front, back and the biting/chewing surface – but do not brush too vigorously as this can damage sensitive parts of the mouth. In addition, use an antiseptic mouthwash. As this liquid is swilled round the whole mouth, it works in addition to tooth brushing, to reach parts that a brush cannot. Mouthwash like this helps to remove the bacteria that cause plaque.
Flossing also helps to remove debris and bacteria that can ultimately lead to plaque or tooth decay. Flossing is important in addition to brushing, as it cleans the gaps between teeth, where a brush cannot reach, and so food is liable to get stuck here. Use a length of floss held between fingers of each hand, and gently curve it around each tooth, moving it from side to side to clean, down to the gumline. Be sure to cover both sides of each tooth, top and bottom. Brushing, flossing and mouthwash should be used daily, preferably in that order, to ensure your teeth are kept as healthy as possible.