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Healthy Mouth, Beautiful Smiles

By: Michelle S. Segarra, DMD, MOHHealthy Mouth, Beautiful Smiles

The mouth is also considered to be the dirtiest part of the body as it contains a multitude of microorganisms. However, as long as balance is maintained within the bacterial population, the mouth remains healthy. As such, one should practice good oral hygiene and eat a well-balanced diet for proper nutrition.

Keeping the mouth healthy is relatively easy and should be part of a healthy lifestyle. Here are some easy to follow tips on keeping our mouth healthy, our breath fresh and our smiles radiant.

1. Regular brushing and proper techniques

Ideally, one should brush his/her teeth after every meal. However, tooth brushing is more important in the morning and in the evening before going to bed. It is not only the frequency of brushing that is important. Thoroughness and proper brushing techniques is as important. For children, as they have limited dexterity, the scrub technique or running the toothbrush back and forth on the surface of the teeth is recommended. For adults however, the scrub technique when done vigorously can cause gum recession and toothbrush abrasions on the necks of the teeth (near the gums). What is recommended is the bass and circular technique where the bristles of the toothbrush is held at 45 degrees to the surface of the tooth near the gums and moved slightly up and down to remove any plaque present. The circular technique where the toothbrush is moved in a vertical circular direction while the upper and lower teeth are in contact also works well in removing debris while protecting and massaging the gums. A common misconception is brushing vigorously will remove more plaque. Brushing vigorously is ineffective as this will bend the bristles, which is the ends of which are the working part of the brush, preventing efficient removal of plaque and other debris. Light pressure is recommended as this will keep the bristles of the brush upright and the ends in contact with the tooth surface, resulting in more efficient cleaning.

2. Don’t rinse off excess tooth paste

Another recommendation is not to rinse off the excess toothpaste with water after brushing to make the fluoride stay longer in the mouth and saliva. Fluoride helps prevent tooth decay by making the teeth more resistant to acid articles for plaques. Spitting out the excess toothpaste after brushing will suffice. However, if one finds the taste of toothpaste too strong, he can opt to rinse with water after brushing and apply a thin coat of tooth paste (either with the finger of cotton bud) after rinsing. One need not worry about fluoride toxicity as the amount of fluoride in toothpastes is too low to cause any toxic effect.

3. Eating nutritious food

Always eat a well-balanced diet containing a good dose of vitamins and minerals to keep the mouth healthy. Fruits and vegetables such as apples, lettuce, broccoli and cucumber contain important nutrients and provide calcium and phosphates which are natural building blocks of the teeth that help remineralization. Eating these also stimulates saliva necessary to flush out debris.

4. Avoid smoking

We all know that smoking is bad for our health.  Smoking can cause a myriad of oral diseases ranging from gum diseases, bad taste in the mouth, tooth staining, tooth loss, to oral cancer.

5. Regular visits to the dentist

Your dentist is your partner in keeping your mouth and teeth healthy. He or she can give you sound advice on how to take care of your teeth properly. Regular tooth cleaning can be scheduled every six months or annually. 

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