February 07, 2014

Dental Hygiene - Keep a Healthy Smile

How to brush
  • Brush your teeth for at least two minutes in the morning before breakfast and last thing at night before you go to bed. 
  • Never brush your teeth straight after a meal as it can damage your teeth, especially if you've had fruit, fizzy drinks, wine or any other food that contains acid.
  • Regular flossing may also reduce gum disease and bad breath by removing plaque that forms along the gum line.
  • Using a mouthwash that contains fluoride can help prevent tooth decay and help get rid of any last bits of bacteria or leftover food that you might have missed with your toothbrush. However, don't use mouthwash straight after brushing your teeth.
Dental decay
Dental cavities are holes (or structural damage) in the teeth. Tooth decay is a common disorder, second only to the common cold. It usually occurs in children and young adults but can affect any person. Tooth decay is a common cause of tooth loss in younger people.

Bacteria are normally found in your mouth. These bacteria change foods, especially sugar and starch into acids. Bacteria, acid, food pieces, and saliva combine in the mouth to form a sticky substance called plaque. Plaque sticks to the teeth. 

Plaque that is not removed from the teeth turns into a substance called tartar. Plaque and tartar irritate the gums, resulting in gingivitis and periodontitis.

Plaque begins to build up on teeth within 20 minutes after eating. If it is not removed, tooth decay will begin.

The acids in plaque damage the enamel covering your teeth, and create holes in the tooth (cavities). Cavities usually do not hurt, unless they grow very large and affect nerves or cause a tooth fracture. An untreated cavity can lead to a tooth abscess. Untreated tooth decay also destroys the inside of the tooth (pulp), which leads to tooth loss.

  • Tooth pain or achy feeling, particularly after sweet, hot, or cold foods and drinks
  • Visible pits or holes in the teeth
Good Food
  • Unsweetened yogurt is low in acidity and sugar. Similarly, cheese has high calcium and phosphate contents, which balance pH levels, preserve enamel, produce saliva, and kill bacteria.
  • Sesame seeds are also high in calcium.
  • Fruits such as kiwis, apples, strawberries and citrus fruits contain vitamin C, which is essential to not only your oral health but for the rest of your body as well.
  • Orange vegetables - such as pumpkins, carrots, and sweet potato, as well as other vegetables such as broccoli, contain vitamin A, which, during tooth development, aids in the building of enamel. Crunchy vegetables also cleanse and stimulate gums. Celery is particularly effective for this, and also helps the mouth generate saliva. Any food that requires at lot of chewing - from vegetables, to fruits, to whole grains, is beneficial to your teeth and gums.
  • Onions contain antibacterial sulphur compounds that kill numerous types of bacteria. They are particularly effective when eaten freshly peeled and raw. Parsley or mint are great choices to follow-up onions with, as they will help you maintain sweet-smelling breath.
  • Shiitake mushrooms contain lentinan, which studies have shown may prevent bacteria from forming plaque. Similarly, studies have indicated that wasabi is also effective in preventing the growth of bacteria.
  • Chewing sugar-free gum can help prevent decay, as it encourages your mouth to produce saliva.
  • Many nuts provide vitamins and minerals that help your teeth. These include peanuts (calcium and vitamin D), almonds (high levels of calcium that helps both teeth and gums), cashews (stimulates saliva and helps clean teeth) and walnuts (fiber, folic acid, iron, thiamine, magnesium, iron, niacin, vitamin E, vitamin B6, potassium and zinc).
Bad Foods

  • Carbonated beverages & other drinks - The sugar content is bad for both body and teeth. But teeth aren’t safe even for those who stick to diet drinks! Like their sugar-loaded versions, artificially sweetened soft drinks contain tooth-eroding acids, such as phosphoric and citric. 
  • Sports drinks – They are notoriously acidic and full of sugar. And vitamin waters can contain as much sugar as a candy bar. Chewable vitamins from multivitamins to large chewable vitamin C tablets are especially bad, because they contain a concentrated acid that tends to cling to and between teeth.
  • Mouth-drying consumables – Whether it’s last night’s margaritas that are leaving one cotton-mouthed, or one of the medications that affect salivation, a dry mouth is danger to teeth and gums. 
  • Long-lasting and sticky sweets - Caramels and other gooey, sugary sweets are bad for teeth. It’s not just the sugar, though; it’s how long the teeth are exposed to sugar
  • Dried fruits – Although often touted as healthy snacks, dried fruits like raisins, prunes and apricots, are similar to caramels. Already sweet when fresh, their sugars are highly concentrated as the water is dried away, and their gummy texture can cling to teeth as much as gooey candy. The fruit is packed with non-soluble cellulose fibre, which can bind and trap sugars on and around the tooth, making it worse than candy.
  • Starchy foods - Many starchy foods, including white bread, potato chips and French fries and al dente pasta, can easily become lodged between teeth and in crevices. The starches can begin converting to sugar almost immediately, not only by the bacteria, but also by the pre-digestive process that begins in the mouth through the enzymes in saliva.
  • High-acid foods and drinks - Citrus fruits and drinks contain powerful citric acid – in fact, such juice is often used as a cleaning agent. While oranges, lemons and grapefruit can be a healthy part of the diet, they should be consumed quickly, preferably as part of a meal, and the teeth should be rinsed afterward. 
  • Change your toothbrush every three months.
  • Change your toothbrush post a cold or fever, as the old one will be carrying viruses and bacteria.
  • Avoid soda. People who tend to drink three or more glasses of soda daily have 62 percent more tooth decay, fillings and tooth loss than those who do not drink it at all. 
  • Vigorous brushing does more harm than good and can lead to eroded enamel, which never grows back and can cause sensitivity and other oral issues.
  • When traveling, don’t cap your toothbrush. Capping your toothbrush actually can trap moisture and encourage bacterial growth.
  • Keep your toothbrush away from the toilet. It’s no myth – the airborne particles from the flush can travel up to a distance of six feet, so keep your distance to avoid dangerous bacteria.
  • Rubbing teeth with bay leaf twice a week will help to get sparkling white teeth.
  • Flossing is the ideal way for gums to remain healthy.
  • Avoid pasty foods like peanut butter. They stick to the teeth and are a welcome invitation for tooth decay. 
  • Cheese has calcium that will coat your teeth and help fight tooth decay.
  • Natural apple cider vinegar strengthens teeth from the inside. Rinse your mouth after drinking natural apple cider vinegar, but don’t brush your teeth right after.

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