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7 Ways to Improve Oral Hygiene

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7 Ways to Improve Oral Hygiene

7 Tips for Better Oral Hygiene

Do you often shudder at the thought of taking pictures with others?

Maybe speaking to someone up close gives you anxiety. This feeling is far too common.

Over 35 percent of the world population has some degree of halitosis or bad breath. Researchers estimate that approximately 80 million Americans suffer from chronic halitosis. Further, 99% of people experience “dragon breath” in the morning.

The most common cause of halitosis is bad oral hygiene. When particles of food are left in the mouth, they breakdown and the oral bacteria present will produce sulfur compounds. Each year, Americans spend more than $10 billion on oral hygiene products. From gums, mouthwashes, toothpaste, and dental floss - oral health is a seriously profitable industry. Most people who interact with others daily will do just about anything to prevent & combat chronic bad breath. Bad breath sufferers are 60% more likely to be stressed out than non-sufferers. More than 57% report feelings of depression directly caused by their oral hygiene challenges.

About 9 out of 10 bad breath sufferers spend more than $400 a year just managing the condition, without much resolve. Consequently, these oral hygiene products only mask the smell for a short period of time and don't actually treat the root of the problem. 

Tips for Increasing Oral Health

Whether you have crooked teeth or a frighteningly bad odor, the key to good oral hygiene requires education on proper oral hygiene and consistency. In an effort to “brush up” on your oral hygiene routine, the following pointers are sure to come in handy.

1) Brush your teeth consistently

How consistent is consistent enough?

Well, twice a day is the bare minimum requirement. Preferably brushing both in the morning after you wake up, as bacteria builds up rapidly when we are asleep, and in the evening after accumulating food, plaque, and germs throughout the day. Further, you should not only brush your teeth, but also, remember to gently clean other areas of your mouth such as the roof of your mouth, your gums and, of course, your tongue. Ideally, brushing after each meal would help to prevent build up.

2) Floss regularly

Thorough brushing can only go so far in cleaning your mouth. Hard-to-reach areas, particularly the nooks and crannies of your teeth and gums, harbor bacteria and food residue for months on end. As the mouth is always moist, it's impossible to remove all the bacteria as it thrives in moist environments. That’s where flossing comes into play. Flossing provides an adept solution that can remove detrimental substances which seek refuge in the spots a toothbrush can’t access. We recommend flossing at least once daily. 

The recommended frequency of flossing depends on many factors. The size of your teeth, the number of gaps you have between teeth, and types of foods you're consuming will affect how much flossing is required. Having an annual or bi-annual cleaning will also help to prevent major build up.

3) Watch the tobacco

At the top of oral hygiene’s most wanted list, tobacco ranks as public enemy number one. Regular tobacco use is known to cause bad breath. The smell emitted from your mouth will be different than a typical person with halitosis, but it's unattractive nonetheless. Smoking tobacco products can lead to more serious health conditions like oral cancer and gum disease in the long run.

Further, masking smoker's breath with coffee, tea or sweets does more harm than good. As the added sugar and artificial flavorings accelerate plaque buildup - they compound teeth damage and amplifies bad breath.

4) Regulate soda and alcohol intake too

Most sodas contain phosphoric acid and citric acid, which are both very bad for oral health. Every time you drink a can of soda, the acids in the drink can soften the enamel of your teeth. This increases the risk of cavities and tooth decay over time. 

Alcohol's negative effect on your teeth and gums is primarily due to the sugar content in a mixed alcoholic beverage. Sugar causes problems for the gums and teeth, whether the sugar comes from candy, bread, soda, or alcohol. However, alcohol itself causes dehydration and dry mouth. Pair that dehydration with the acidic and sugary mixers in a cocktail, and you may develop bad breath. Further, regular reduction in saliva flow (frequent dehydration) due to consistently drinking alcoholic beverages is the perfect environment for tooth decay and gum disease.

Further, both alcoholic beverages and sugary sodas are imbued with phosphorus. Coincidentally, phosphorus is a useful mineral that contributes to good health. However, in large quantities, phosphorus decrepitates calcium reserves within the body thereby leading to gum diseases and tooth decay, among other dental hygiene and health issues.

5) Use mouthwash

Mouthwash is rarely used as it is widely misunderstood. However, it is just as important as dental floss because it penetrates those areas where a toothbrush falls short. Aside from that, it also adds essential minerals to the teeth, kills harmful bacteria, and neutralizes acid formation.

6) Drink more water

Though not as effective as a mouthwash, a glass of water can go a long way in the fight against bad breath. Having a glass first thing in the morning, and after meals is helpful in counteracting plaque buildup and acidic residues. It essentially waters down the bad stuff.

Water is not only good for oral hygiene but also skin health, hair growth, maintaining blood pressure, and cushioning sensitive tissues. In other words, drinking water helps the body function more efficiently. proper hydration improves energy levels and cognitive processing, relieves constipation, treats kidney stones, and prevents hangovers. Water is truly one of nature's miracles.

7) Add crunchy vegetables and fruits to your diet

The same way you go to the gym to work out your muscles, you should also work out your mouth and jaw muscles regularly. Hard-to-eat foods provide excellent nourishment and exercise for the mouth. Steer clear of extremely soft, processed foods like bread and sweets, look for fiber-rich and fresh alternatives that have a little crunch.

If you're health conscious and would like to prolong the functionality and longevity of your teeth, avoid hard candies and junk food at all costs.

Finally, don’t be a stranger to the dentist. Make an appointment to visit your dentist at least twice a year. While all the tips in this article will help keep those oral diseases at bay, you should still see a professional for a thorough examination. Not only will this help you catch problematic conditions early, but professional cleanings help you to maintain the condition & functionality of healthy teeth over time.

Similar to getting maintenance work done on your car, we can help you prevent major malfunctioning and expenses down the road. We'll keep your teeth healthy, as well as fix what's not working right now.

A Final Note

The underlying mouth issues causing you to have bad breath can lead to nerve damage and complications later on in life. A cosmetic dentist will nip those complications in the bud while offering effective teeth cleaning and whitening solutions. Beyond what's visible to the untrained eye, your dentist can get to the root of any oral health issue and provide the help you need.

Kind of like a carwash for teeth - a dentist can offer specific tools, solutions, and even words of advice regarding an array of challenges you're facing when it comes to your oral health.