How to Keep your Mouth and Teeth Healthy

By  ,  Onlymyhealth editorial team
Sep 17, 2018
Quick Bites

  • Brush your teeth twice a day with fluoride toothpaste
  • Floss once a day
  • Visit your dentist regularly for a checkup and cleaning
  • Eat a well-balanced diet

Everyone should take care of their teeth despite their age. If your mouth is healthy then you can enjoy all your favourite delicacies. It will definitely boost your confidence to smile, talk and laugh. Keeping your teeth healthy can be beneficial for a lifetime. Taking good care of your teeth and gums can protect them for the future and live a healthy life. 

Tooth Decay

Teeth are covered in a hard, outer coating called enamel. Every day, a thin film of bacteria builds up on your teeth. Over time, the bacteria can cause holes in the enamel. These holes are called cavities. Brushing and flossing your teeth can protect you from decay, but once a cavity happens, a dentist has to fix it. 

Fluoride toothpaste can protect your teeth from decay. If you suffer from tooth decay, then your dentist may give you a fluoride treatment during an office visit. Your dentist may even recommend you a fluoride gel or mouth rinse at home. 

Also read: What causes tooth decay in adults

How to Prevent Gum Diseases

Gum disease begins when plaque builds up along and under the gum line. This plaque causes infections that hurt the gum and bone that hold teeth in place. Sometimes gum disease makes your gums tender and more likely to bleed. This problem, called gingivitis, can often be fixed by daily brushing and flossing.

Other gum diseases need to be treated by a dentist. If not treated, these infections can ruin the bones, gums, and other tissues that support your teeth. Over time, your teeth may have to be removed.

  • Brush your teeth twice a day with fluoride toothpaste
  • Floss once a day
  • Visit your dentist regularly for a checkup and cleaning
  • Eat a well-balanced diet
  • Quit smoking. Smoking increases your risk for gum disease
  • Cleaning your teeth and gums

There is a right way to brush and floss your teeth. Every day:

  • Gently brush your teeth on all sides with a soft-bristle brush and fluoride toothpaste
  • Use small circular motions and short back-and-forth strokes
  • Take the time to brush carefully and gently along the gum line
  • Lightly brush your tongue to help keep your mouth clean

How to Floss

You also need to clean around your teeth with dental floss every day. Careful flossing will take off plaque and leftover food that a toothbrush can’t reach. Be sure to rinse after you floss. 

See your dentist if brushing or flossing causes your gums to bleed or hurts your mouth. If you have trouble flossing, a floss holder may help. Ask your dentist to show you the right way to floss.

People with arthritis or other conditions that limit hand motion may find it hard to hold a toothbrush. Some helpful ideas are:

  • Slide a bicycle grip or foam tube over the handle of the toothbrush
  • Buy a toothbrush with a larger handle
  • Attach the toothbrush handle to your hand with a wide elastic band

Dentures

Sometimes, dentures (false teeth) are needed to replace badly damaged teeth. Dentures may feel strange at first. In the beginning, your dentist may want to see you often to make sure the dentures fit. Over time, your mouth will change and your dentures may need to be adjusted or replaced. Be sure to let your dentist handle these adjustments.

When you are learning to eat with dentures, it may be easier if you:

  • Start with soft, non-sticky food
  • Cut your food into small pieces
  • Chew slowly using both sides of your mouth

Be careful when wearing dentures because they may make it harder for you to feel hot foods and liquids. Also, you may not notice things like bones in your mouth.

Keep your dentures clean and free from food that can cause stains, bad breath, or swollen gums. Brush them every day with a denture care product. Take your dentures out of your mouth at night and put them in water or a denture cleansing liquid. Partial dentures are used to fill in one or more missing teeth. Take care of them in the same way as dentures.

Also read: What is Implant Supported Denture?

Dry Mouth

Dry mouth happens when you don’t have enough saliva, or spit, to keep your mouth wet. This makes it hard to eat, swallow, taste, and even speak. Dry mouth can cause tooth decay and other infections of the mouth.

Many common medicines can cause dry mouth. Try sipping water or sugarless drinks. Stay away from drinks with caffeine. Don’t smoke and avoid alcohol. Some people are helped by sucking sugarless hard candy or chewing sugarless gum. Talk to your dentist or doctor for other ideas on how to cope with dry mouth.

Oral Cancer

Oral cancer most often happens in people over age 40. Treatment works best before the disease spreads. Pain is not usually an early symptom of the disease. A dental check-up is a good time for your dentist to look for signs of oral cancer. Even if you have lost all your natural teeth, you should still see your dentist for regular oral cancer exams.

You can lower your risk of getting oral cancer in a few ways:

  • Do not use tobacco products – cigarettes, chewing tobacco, snuff, pipes, or cigars
  • If you drink alcohol, do so only in moderation
  • Use a lip balm with sunscreen

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