How Is Oral Health Defined?

Everyone wants to have a healthy mouth and beautiful smile, but what exactly does it mean to have good oral health? Some individuals may think that a beautiful smile can be attributed to healthy teeth, but in some cases teeth whitening products can make a smile appear healthy even when it is not. If you are not certain what it means to have good oral health or what steps you should take to improve the health of your mouth, here is a brief definition of what you should be focused on.

Oral Refers to the Entire Mouth

The word “oral” has Latin roots that refer to the entire mouth; not just the teeth. This means that a person who wants to improve their oral health should focus on all of the tissues in the mouth, including the tongue, chewing muscles, teeth, gums, lips, and connective tissues. Based on this definition, oral health is achieved when all of the various structures in the mouth are taken care of and are free from painful conditions.

In addition to gingivitis and tooth decay, other conditions that affect oral health include:

  • Soft tissue lesions in the mouth area
  • Pharyngeal and oral cancers
  • Cleft palate
  • Cleft lip
  • Other painful oral diseases or conditions

Why Oral Health Is So Important

The health and scientific communities are continuously discovering links between oral health and other dangerous physical conditions, such as:

  • Premature births
  • Stroke
  • Heart disease
  • Lung disease

If you are concerned about the health of your body in general, you should also be concerned about improving your oral health. In addition to being linked to various physical ailments, poor oral health can also make it difficult for individuals to participate in daily activities, such as eating, drinking, and conversing with others.

Improve Your Oral Health Today

You can take matters into your own hands and improve your oral health by regularly brushing and flossing your teeth, rinsing your mouth with mouthwash, eating a healthy diet, and receiving regular dental checkups. 

Why Daily Brushing May Not Be Enough to Prevent Gum Disease and Tooth Decay

Healthy teeth start with healthy habits. The simple oral care habits that are part of your daily routine actually go a long way towards protecting your teeth and gums against a range of preventable dental problems. Taking care of your teeth requires only a few basic tools and a little know-how.

Protect Your Mouth Against Plaque

Gum disease (gingivitis) is cause in part by the plaque that builds up on your teeth near the gum line. This hard layer is formed by bacteria which flourish by feeding on the food particles that should be cleared away with brushing. Over time, the layer of plaque causes the gum line to recede. Your gums might feel swollen and tender or might bleed slightly after brushing. These are a few signs that plaque is starting to win.

While daily brushing is essential for keeping your mouth healthy, using a toothbrush and toothpaste alone is often not enough to keep plaque at bay. In addition, you should add flossing at least once a day, and make sure you are regularly visiting your dentist, since s/he has specialized tools and treatment options to remove hard-to-reach plaque, and the plaque that has hardened to become tartar.

How Your Dentist Can Help

Even though daily dental care habits will go a long way towards preventing gum disease, regular checkups with your dentist will help ensure a lifetime of good oral health. During your checkup, your dental care team will:

  • Remove the tough layer of plaque that has built up since your last cleaning
  • Check for cavities and places where cavities might develop
  • Identify any chips or cracks that need repairing
  • Provide personalized guidance to help you care for your teeth

Dentists recommend that most patients see them for checkups and cleaning twice a year, although that can vary depending on your own personal oral health needs. This will help prevent the buildup of harmful bacteria.

Caring for Sensitive Teeth

Caring for Sensitive Teeth

Does biting into an ice cream cone make you cringe instead of smile? Does sipping on hot cocoa make your teeth tingle a little too much? Most people will feel some sensation when their teeth touch food or drinks that are at temperature extremes, but if you notice it enough that you want to avoid certain foods, you may have sensitive teeth. Sensitivity can develop when the gum line begins to recede and the enamel starts to erode. Fortunately, it doesn’t have to be a permanent problem.

1. See Your Dentist

You’ve heard it before: see the dentist twice a year for a cleaning and a checkup. Semi-annual visits to the dentist are the easiest way to make sure your teeth and gums are healthy. If you are experiencing pain, your doctor can rule out any serious problems.

2. Change Your Toothpaste

Toothpastes designed for sensitive teeth aren’t just gentler to the mouth. They contain chemicals to actually protect the teeth. Under the tooth enamel is dentin, which has tubules that lead to nerves. Potassium nitrate can literally plug those tubules, which prevents further pain. Strontium chloride encourages minerals in saliva to harden over them as well. Let the foamy paste sit a bit before rinsing to allow the compound to soak in.

3. Update Your Toothbrush

A hard brush and intense scrubbing may seem like an effective way to get rid of tooth grime, but both can actually damage tooth enamel. Using a soft brush to gently massage the teeth and gums is much more effective to clean and protect from permanent harm. Gum erosion is often the result of brushing too hard. Switching to an electric toothbrush can help because it is pressure-sensitive.

Simple changes can make a big difference in giving you back a healthy and pain-free smile. First, rule out serious problems by visiting the dentist. From there, try changing the way your brush your teeth each day. After a few weeks, you should be able to enjoy a cold drink again

Dental Care: Take Charge

Your teeth and mouth are an extremely important part of your body. If you don’t take care of oral health, you may experience a range of problems from difficulty and pain when trying to eat and talk to severe inflammation, infection, and even tooth loss. By adhering to a basic regimen, you enjoy a better chance of having healthy teeth for a lifetime.

Brush and Floss Your Teeth

Don’t forget to brush your teeth twice daily for at least two minutes. Take care to thoroughly target every surface, including teeth near the back of your mouth that are harder to reach. Use fluoride toothpaste and make sure to replace your toothbrush every three to four months, and floss once a day.

Schedule Regular Dental Checkups

Ideally, you should visit a dentist regularly for professional cleanings, and more often if you cope with problems such as sensitivity, crooked teeth or excessive decay. During appointments, be sure to ask the provider if he or she has any specific suggestions for how you should best care for your teeth at home between appointments.

Instill Good Oral Health Habits

Proper dental care begins at a young age. Soon after your baby is born, wipe his or her gums with a soft cloth. That gets the infant used to having someone gently tend to his or her mouth. Then, once teeth begin to break through the gums, brush them gently with water and a baby-sized toothbrush.

Once a child is old enough, instruct him or her how to properly brush teeth and emphasize how important it is that the toothpaste gets spit into the sink rather than swallowed. Always just use a pea-sized amount of toothpaste, so if any accidental swallowing does occur, there shouldn’t be any harmful consequences.

It’s also important that you set a good example for kids by brushing your own teeth well and visiting your dentist regularly.

Thanks to proactive measures like these, you can avoid many major dental problems and enjoy a beautiful and healthy smile for your whole life.

The Shocking Truth About Your Toothbrush

You brush your teeth to get rid of germs and bacteria in your mouth, but did you know you may be introducing more into it than you’re clearing away? If your toothbrush sits out in the open, especially near a sink or a toilet, you’re probably using a contaminated one.

Potty Mouth

Every time you flush the toilet, moisture droplets can become airborne. The contaminants in that spray can reach as high as 10 inches and spread to any surface in between. That means your toothbrush, minding its own business in a cup in the corner, is susceptible to nasty bacteria and viruses. The bottom line: close the lid before you flush, store it somewhere that is protected like a drawer, or move it farther away from the toilet.

Sinking Feeling

The corner perch is dangerous every time you wash your hands as well. Walk into any public restroom and you’ll notice how much water and soap gets splashed around when hands are washed. That same mess is sprinkling around your sink and onto your brush.

Don’t Even Think About It

If you feel sharing a toothbrush isn’t a big deal, try again: the average mouth has up to 200 types of bacteria in it, and that’s after scrubbing. Your toothpaste is also a great source for sharing germs. Each time you wipe the paste onto your brush, you are pressing on material from the previous person’s toothbrush. To keep everyone healthier, especially if someone is sick, give everyone their own tube.

Get Some Air

Covering you toothbrush may seem like the only recourse. While keeping it protected is a good idea, don’t smother it. Avoid using plastic caps or containers, like travel cases, because the brush will stay wet and mold can grow. Instead, try putting it away in a cabinet or drawer so it can be shielded and dry out.

Brushing your teeth is supposed to be good for your health, but introducing germs can do the opposite. Taking a few simple steps can help you prevent dodgy microbes from going into your mouth.