How to Fix Poor Dental Hygiene?
If you’re wondering how to fix your dental hygiene, you probably have bad breath, cavities or stained teeth, and, while serious tooth problems can’t be fixed and may require tooth extraction and implants, most minor issues with dental hygiene can be fixed. Many people know the basic ways of looking after their teeth and oral health, but not necessarily how it works, why it’s important, or what you can do better. So let’s get into it in more detail so you can fix your dental hygiene quickly.
What is Dental Hygiene?
Dental hygiene refers to the overall health of your mouth, from your teeth to your gums, tongue and the top of your throat. If you have throat issues, you should generally see your GP or an ENT specialist, however, dentists will be able to spot issues at the back of your mouth and the top of your throat, known as the pharynx or pharyngolaryngeal area.
You can see a dental hygienist about the health of your mouth, rather than a dentist, as they are primarily concerned with keeping your teeth and gums healthy, while dentists perform more serious dental procedures like tooth extractions or root canals. In a dental hygiene appointment, you can have several useful treatments, including:
- A general checkup to assess the health of your mouth
- Plaque removal (also known as tooth cleaning)
- Tooth polishing
- Advice on how to maintain good oral hygiene
Seeing a dental hygienist is a crucial part of maintaining good oral hygiene as they can advise on how to look after your teeth considering your specific lifestyle, family history and dental health.
How Should You Improve Your Dental Hygiene?
Unfortunately, there’s no quick fix for dental hygiene issues; maintaining healthy teeth and gums is an ongoing process that requires regular attention. However, if you’re suffering from dental issues or have been told you have poor dental hygiene, there are some musts that you should incorporate into your life to improve your oral health.
Brush Twice Daily
Shockingly, many people in the UK don’t actually brush their teeth twice a day – some don’t even brush them twice a week! So to start fixing your dental hygiene issues, brushing your teeth once in the morning straight after you wake up, and once in the evening before you go to bed is imperative.
Brushing your teeth with a soft or medium toothbrush removes the bacteria and sugars from your teeth, preventing the bacteria from eating the sugars from your food and reproducing, spreading across your mouth. Mouths are naturally warm, wet and dark places, which makes them the perfect breeding ground for bacteria. One dental hygienist even reported finding a seed stuck under someone’s tooth that had begun to germinate, showing how well things can live and grow in your mouth if they’re not sufficiently cleaned.
Hard toothbrushes are not recommended by dentists because the protective enamel covering your teeth is very sensitive, which is why we need to protect it from bacteria; using a hard toothbrush can brush away the protective enamel, leaving your teeth more susceptible to damage and tooth decay.
You should also avoid brushing your teeth within an hour of eating or drinking anything except water, as you can harm your teeth further by pushing the sugars and acids further into the gaps in your teeth rather than removing them.
Floss and Rinse
As important as brushing your teeth – although never an alternative – is using dental floss and mouthwash each time you brush. The bristles from the toothbrush can’t effectively get into the gaps between your teeth where the bacteria builds up, causing a thick film that sticks to your teeth and eats through your tooth enamel, called dental plaque.
The dental floss slips through the gaps between your teeth and removes some leftover food particles and bacteria to prevent plaque from building up. The more plaque you have stuck to your teeth, the higher the risk of developing cavities – holes in your teeth – which cause your teeth to rot, break or fall out, as well as causing infections in the dental pulp which can lead to gum disease.
But bacteria doesn’t just stick to your teeth; it also lives on your gums, tongue, the roof of your mouth and the back of your mouth. But rather than brushing each of these sensitive areas, you should rinse your mouth with mouthwash at least once a day to kill the bacteria left in your mouth.
Maintaining good dental hygiene also involves prevention as much as it does cure. That means, having a healthy mouth starts with putting healthy things in it. Sugary drinks are one of the worst things for your teeth as the liquid coats your teeth more easily than food, so you should cut down as much as possible. If you still have fizzy drinks, drink them with a straw to bypass your teeth as much as possible and prevent further tooth decay.
You should also cut down on sugary and acidic foods in general, as the more sugar in your food, the more there is for the bacteria in your mouth to feed on. Smoking is also incredibly harmful to your teeth and mouth as the tar sticks to your teeth, causing them to turn brown, as well as damaging the sensitive skin in your mouth with the harmful contents of tobacco, so try to stop smoking as soon as possible.
If you do all of these steps but still have yellow or brown teeth, then it may be that you’re eating too many foods with chromogens in them. Chromogens are what causes the food to have colour i.e. why tomato sauce is red and soy sauce is brown. Eating a lot of these foods will cause your teeth to stain, so even though your overall dental health is good, your teeth become discoloured. Try to introduce more colourless foods into your diet such as cauliflower, dairy and white rice to slow down the staining of your teeth. However, if the staining is already bad, you can have your teeth professionally whitened to reduce some of the damage.
Regular Dental Hygiene Appointments
The final most important part of caring for your teeth and improving your dental hygiene is regularly visiting the dental hygienist. A certain amount of plaque buildup is natural for most people, and a dental hygienist can remove this plaque to help your teeth stay stronger for longer. They can also spot any areas you’re missing and advise on how you can better look after your teeth. For example, you may be brushing too forcefully and causing your enamel to wear away when you think you’re simply being thorough.
You should visit a dental hygienist once every six months, unless you have particularly thin enamel or other dental health issues, in which case, once every three months is ideal. There are some differences between NHS and private dentists, so check which is best for you before you book.
Why Is Dental Hygiene Important?
Maintaining a healthy mouth doesn’t just help you keep your teeth whiter. It helps keep them stronger and healthier, which reduces the chances of developing dental issues, mouth infections and gum disease. Bacteria and infections can even spread further than your mouth, travelling through your oesophagus into your stomach to cause inflammatory bowel disease and an upset stomach, and through your blood vessels which increases your chances of cardiovascular disease, diabetes and cancer.
Cardiovascular disease can cause strokes and heart attacks, so you must look after your teeth to reduce your risk.
To maintain excellent dental hygiene, you should:
- Brush and floss your teeth and rinse with mouthwash after waking up
- Eat a healthy balanced diet
- Only drink sugary drinks through a straw
- Don’t smoke
- Brush and floss your teeth and rinse with mouthwash before going to bed
- Visit a dental hygienist at least once every six months
If you do each of these things, you’ll keep your natural teeth healthier and whiter for longer.
Book Your Dental Hygiene Appointment Today!
Didsbury Dental Practice is here to help you keep your teeth healthy! Book an appointment with our dental hygienist from 9 am to midnight any day of the year in our 24-hour emergency dental practice in Manchester.
What are you waiting for? Protect your teeth and book a private dental hygiene appointment today!