Friday, February 21, 2014

Tooth or Consequence: Good oral hygiene tips

Dr. Jessie Albeus
by Dr. Jessie Albeus

Maintaining good oral hygiene, which means taking care of our teeth and gums, is one of the most important practices in attaining a healthy mouth and an over-all well-being. As an old adage says, prevention is always better than cure. So, in order to avoid having carious and painful teeth, oral infections and diseases like gingivitis (inflammation of the gums), and periodontitis (infection affecting not only the gums but also the supporting structures of the tooth), it is  a must that everyone should practice good oral hygiene. Doing so would eliminate embarrassing conditions like halitosis (bad breath).

Good oral hygiene tips
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Here are some useful oral hygiene tips:
  1. Always brush your teeth, every after meal, especially before bedtime.
  2. Use fluoride-containing toothpastes to prevent caries formation.
  3. Soft or medium head toothbrushes are best to prevent irritation of the outer covering of the tooth called the enamel.
  4. Flossing after eating can help remove food debris trapped in the interproximal (in between) areas of the teeth.
  5. Brushing should not only be confined to the teeth but also on the tongue to eliminate the bacteria that may cause halitosis.
  6. Brushing of teeth must be done not less than two minutes.
  7. Avoid eating foods that are sugar and sweet-rich. If unavoidable, rinsing afterwards is recommended.
  8. Make sure to brush your teeth and tongue after eating foods that have a lot of onions and garlic as these ingredients contribute to bad breath.
  9. Taking a minimum of 500mg of calcium and ascorbic acid per day will help to ensure strong teeth, gums and bones.
  10. Oral prophylaxis (cleaning) must be done ideally every 6 months.
  11. Replace your toothbrush every 2 to 3 moths to ensure proper brushing and for hygienic purposes.
  12. Children as early as age 1 should begin visiting a dentist for familiarization with the dentist and as a start of the lifetime healthy oral care.
  13. Visit a licensed dentist regularly at least every 6 months.
Remember: an ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure.

Dr. Albeus is the Philippine Dental Association (PDA) President in Camarines Sur. He has been serving for two terms since January 2012. Albeus is a graduate of the University of the East- College of Dentistry in Manila.

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