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Stop the rot!

By: Claire Y ContrerasStop the rot!

A beautiful smile can leave a lasting impression. It does not only say a lot about your personality but also inadvertently reflects your oral hygiene.  But while we all know that oral care is important, there are those who tend to neglect their teeth and gums.

Statistics showed that almost 90 percent of Filipinos suffer from dental problems (tooth decay and tooth cavities), while about 50 percent experience periodontal or gum disease. In total, there are 7 out of 10 Filipinos who have oral problems.  These numbers are similar to the statistics of patients with hypertension and diabetes. It must be taken seriously because oral diseases such as tooth decay, mouth sores (singaw), tooth sensitivity (pangingilo), gum inflammation, and the like can lead to oral cancer, tonsillitis, and oral infections. Similarly, rotten teeth and bacterial growth may lead to having an unattractive smile and bad breath which are likely to lower one’s self-esteem and confidence.

Caring for your teeth and gums is not a tedious task. Here are some tips from the experts to help maintain good oral health:

  • Brush your teeth every day – at least 2x daily, in the morning when you wake up, and after your last meal of the day. For growing kids, brushing teeth 3x daily (morning, after lunch, and before going to bed) is a must.
  • Use a mouthwash, toothpick, and dental floss if you have difficulty brushing. Mouthwash is the best way to rinse the mouth. It is used after brushing because it helps to reach the gaps between teeth and kills bacteria in your mouth. Using a toothpick or dental floss can also help remove food debris and plaque that toothbrushes can’t reach.
  • Limit sugar intake to:

- 25 grams (5-6 teaspoons) a day for women

- 37.5 grams (9 teaspoons) a day for men

  • Salt and acidic foods should also be limited.
  • Drink moderately. An alcoholic breath is not exactly the best way to stand out. 
  • Rinse after eating. Just as we take a bath to flush out impurities from our body, we rinse our mouth to remove food debris after eating. Don’t forget to brush if you carry a travel size dental kit, or when you’re at home.
  • Avoid these bad habits:

      - Nail biting. It might trigger an oral problem.

      - Chewing too fast may cause you to accidentally bite your gums which in turn lead to mouth sore or dental problems.

  • Visit your dentist and have dental check-ups regularly. The dentist will examine your mouth and teeth and evaluate if there are any risks or caries. It is also important to have a dental cleaning at least twice a year to remove any plaque that brushing and gargling could not reach.


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