Seven Helpful Oral Hygiene Hints to Achieve Optimal Health for Both Children and Adults

Yellow teeth, bad breath, bleeding gums and aching molars — these are just few of the many dental problems you may have if you don’t take care of your oral health. If not treated early, these issues can lead to serious health complications like diabetes and heart disease.

“Your mouth is essential for eating, speaking and sense of well-being. You need to keep it clean, healthy and presentable because you use it all the time. It is also one of the parts in your body that people first notice when you talk and present yourself in public,” said Dr. Nicky Montoya, president of MediCard Philippines.

A dental patient having her teeth checked. AFP 

To achieve optimal dental health:

  1. Brush your teeth daily. Brush your teeth at least twice a day – ideally in the morning after breakfast and in the evening before going to bed. Spend two to three minutes for brushing to make sure that your toothbrush reaches every corner of your mouth, including the teeth, gums and tongue.

  2. Floss regularly. Use a floss to clean the tight spaces between your teeth and under the gum line, which are not reachable by toothbrush. If you find it hard to handle floss properly, use interdental cleaners, like special wooden or plastic pick, as an alternative.

  3. Use mouthwash. Cosmetic and therapeutic mouthwash can help freshen your breath, especially after eating food or drinking liquids that have a strong smell. Take note, however, that the effect of mouthwash is temporary and rinsing doesn’t treat the root cause of bad breath.

  4. Take probiotics. Bad breath is often caused by poor digestion, which can be solved by cleaning out your gut to flush the toxins and bad bacteria away. Fermented food like yogurt and kimchi can help clean your digestive tract and smoothen your digestion.

  5. Eat foods that are rich in vitamins and minerals. Get enough fresh fruit and vegetables in your diet, which are good sources of vitamins and minerals that promote optimal oral health. Limit consumption of candies and other sweets, which contain too much sugar. The bacteria in your mouth convert the sugar to acid, which attacks your teeth’s enamel, leading to cavities and tooth decay.

  6. Prevent teeth discolouration. Some people have natural yellowish teeth, but this is not an excuse to ignore unnatural teeth discolouration that is caused by poor dental hygiene and regular consumption of teeth-staining beverages like tea, coffee and wine. You can use over-the-counter products like bleach and whitening strips to remove the stain and whiten your teeth. The safest way, however, is to let your dentist do the job.

  7. Visit your dentist regularly. Schedule dental check-ups every six months but more often than that if you have dental problems. During a routine check-up, the dentist usually checks your teeth for cavities, signs of decay and gum problems. Your dentist or dental hygienist may also remove plaque build-up through oral prophylaxis (teeth cleaning). – Phil. Daily Inquirer