Hygiene Tips

Mouth is often an indicator of what is happening to the rest of the body. Hence, it is important to check out anything in the mouth that is not normal. Your physician and your dentist want to work together to keep you fit and healthy.

A smiling face makes most of us want to smile too. The person smiling need not necessarily be beautiful, but an attractive smile in itself can be appealing. However, many of us are reluctant to smile, primarily because we are not confident to show our teeth. Our smiles are often guarded because of discoloured, protruding or missing teeth. However, dental techniques and treatments available today could help regain the confidence.


Plaque is probably the biggest cause of tooth decay and eventual loss. Plaque is a sticky, practically colorless film that builds continuously on our teeth. The main inhabitants of plaque are bacteria. One milligram of plaque can contain a half-billion bacteria. Bacteria ferment sugars in the mouth (a reason not to eat sweets) changing them to acids, which then eat away at tooth enamel.

As plaque creeps below the gum line, it mineralizes and becomes razor-sharp deposits of tartar, which is the catalyst of periodontal (or gum) disease by far. It is the major cause of tooth loss in adults. Plaque must be removed daily by proper brushing and dental flossing. It accumulates rapidly and develops under the gums as well as between and on the teeth. Plaque can harden and build up if not removed regularly. This hardened plaque is called tartar, or calculus. The best way, if not the only way, to remove tartar and long established plaque is to have a professional cleaning. However, plaque will start to reform the very next day and proper dental care is the only long lasting solution.


How often should you have a professional cleaning? This depends on your own personal thoroughness with daily brushing, the foods you eat, medications you may take, and of course, smoking. Thorough cleaning is much more than simply cosmetic, although that is very important too.

If you think you are the exceptional person who doesn’t need a periodic professional cleaning, buy some disclosing tablets at your pharmacy. A red dye is released when they are chewed which attaches itself to stain and plaque. Look in the mirror. The red stains show the areas that need scaling to prevent gum disease and cavities.


Inner/outer surface of teeth : Place your tooth brush at a 45-degree angle against your gums and gently brush back and forth.


Chewing surface & inside surface of front teeth : Use the toothbrush as shown, and applying slight pressure, brush back and forth over the chewing surface. To clean inside surface of front teeth, angle the brush as shown and use gentle back and forth strokes with the end of the brush.


Tongue Cleaning & Flossing : Brush the tongue in a back-to-front sweeping motion to remove food particles and freshen your mouth or you can use one of the many tongue scrapers available. Break off about 18 inches of floss and wind most of it around one middle-finger. Wind the rest around the middle-finger of the other hand.


Using the thumbs and middle-finger, place the floss in between teeth. Again, you can divide the mouth into sections. The important thing to remember is that you should get sufficient pressure to get in between the teeth. Pressure should be placed on either side of the teeth once the floss is in correct position.

Formation of tartar happens in everyone, although the amount that precipitates out of saliva varies with each individual. If you accumulate little, then your teeth need not be scaled frequently. Usually twice a year is sufficient. However, if you accumulate a lot, it must be more frequent or the irritation will cause pocket formation, bone loss, and eventually possible loss of your teeth.

Periodontal diseases (Gum diseases) cause teeth loss than any other cause, including cavities. Hence, pay equal attention to your gums. Gum disease can be treated successfully if diagnosed early. However, you have no way of knowing of its onset other than by dental examination because there is normally no pain or other symptoms in its early stages. One normal indication of unhealthy gums is bleeding. The state of the gums reflects the health of the underlying tissues that can’t be seen. Bleeding should alert you that more serious problems lie ahead if the condition is left untreated If you observe bleeding under the gums, don’t assume that it isn’t serious. See your dentist as soon as possible.


Healthy Periodontium (Gum) : Pink, firm, holds the tooth firmly & do not bleed

Once this silent disorder advances though, the gums and even the jawbone may become inflamed and eventually break down. This extreme can be avoided if the dentist regularly examines your mouth both visually, and with x-rays. He can determine whether there have been any changes in the mouth tissues, or the bone around your teeth. He will also look for early tooth decay, impaction, tumors in the jaw area and abscesses in tooth roots. To insure healthy gums and teeth, you must combine regular dental examinations with effective brushing and flossing.