Oral Health & Hygiene

Tips to maintain good oral health:

• Drink fluoridated water and use fluoridated toothpastes. Fluorides protect against dental decay. However, fluoridated pastes are not recommended in children below the age of 6 years, as children tend to swallow the pastes, which might turn out to be harmful.

• Take care of your teeth and gums. Thorough tooth brushing and flossing to reduce dental plaque can prevent gingivitis - the mildest form of gum disease.

• Avoid tobacco. In addition to the general health risks posed by tobacco, smokers have 7 times the risk of developing gum disease compared to non-smokers. Tobacco use in any form - cigarette, pipes, and smokeless (spit) tobacco - increases the risk for gum disease, oral and throat cancers, and oral fungal infection (candidiasis). Spit tobacco containing sugar increases the risk of tooth decay.

• Limit alcohol. Heavy use of alcohol is also a risk factor for oral and throat cancers. When used alone, alcohol and tobacco are risk factors for oral cancers, but when used in combination the effects of alcohol and tobacco are even greater.

• Eat wisely. Avoiding sugars and starches when snacking applies to adults as well as children. Limit the number of snacks eaten throughout the day. The recommended five-a-day helping of fiber-rich fruits and vegetables stimulates salivary flow to aid remineralization of tooth surfaces with early stages of tooth decay. Limit intake of cola and such other carbonated drinks. Ensure you rinse your mouth thoroughly after intake of such beverages and fruit juices.

• Diabetic patients should work to maintain control of their disease. This will help prevent the complications of diabetes, including an increased risk of gum disease.

• If medications produce a dry mouth, ask your doctor if there are other drugs that can be substituted.

• Have an oral health check-up before beginning cancer treatment. Radiation to the head or neck and/or chemotherapy may cause problems for your teeth and gums. Treating existing oral health problems before cancer therapy may help prevent or limit oral complications or tissue damage. Oral health checks before cardiac surgery is mandatory.

• Have a dental check up done once in 6 months. Check-ups can detect early signs of oral health problems and can lead to treatment that will prevent further damage and in some cases reverse the problems. Professional tooth cleaning (prophylaxis) is also important for preventing oral problems, especially when self-care is difficult.

The Right Toothpaste
Brushing Techniques
Flossing Techniques
Safe use of Toothpicks

Oral Health & Hygiene in specific situations / conditions / patients
* Oral Health & Hygiene in Pregnancy
* Healthy Mouth for your Baby