Dental Hygiene

Top tips for caring for your oral health

Current dental hygiene trends have evolved from a long history of misinformation and bad advice to a gentler, science-based regimen recommended by dental professionals the world over.

In the past, hard-bristled toothbrushes were used to vigorously scrub plaque and bacteria from tooth surfaces. We now know that softer brushes and a lighter touch help to preserve the gum tissues and enamel, keeping the teeth free from abrasion which can cause sensitivity and wear facets at the gum line. But there are many tricks of the trade, so to speak, that are not as well-known and can help you improve your dental hygiene.

Fresh Breath

Although alcohol-based mouthwashes can kill bacteria and help freshen breath, over time the alcohol content can lead to dry mouth, which will worsen bad breath. Fresh parsley and mint leaves can freshen breath and kill odor-causing bacteria without disturbing the natural balance of bacteria in your mouth. These herbs can provide hours of freshness when swallowed; as they break down in digestion, the natural antibacterial properties neutralize odor from the intestinal tract.

Between the Teeth

A tried and true method of cleaning between the teeth, but one that has fallen out of favor in recent years, is the old rubber-tipped gum stimulator -it's that little pink rubber point that toothbrush manufacturers used to place on the end of toothbrushes. Lately, though, these little aids are becoming more difficult to find in stores, but are still an excellent addition to any dental hygiene regimen. The stimulation that the tips provide to the gums between the teeth leads to healthier gum tissue, especially for those who don't floss as often as they should. Search high and low for these items, and if all else fails, ask your dentist or hygienist if they can order a supply of them for you.

Take Your Vitamins

Vitamin supplements are essential to maintaining healthy gum and bone support around the teeth. Calcium strengthens the bones in the whole body, including the bone in the upper and lower jaws that hold your teeth in place. Vitamin C is good for the soft tissues of the mouth. One of the most apparent signs of scurvy (disease caused by a lack of Vitamin C) is gum disease in the form of swollen, bleeding, spongy gum tissue. Though scurvy is rarely seen today, especially in developed countries, even a small Vitamin C deficiency can lead to bleeding gums and gingivitis.

These are just a few tips that can help improve your dental hygiene regimen. Your dentist or dental hygienist can evaluate your specific needs and suggest other remedies for dental issues that you may have. Don't hesitate to ask; you may be surprised at how easy it is to address your concerns!

By P. Ward