Good Oral Hygiene Is About More Than Just Brushing

Taking good care of your teeth, gums and general oral health should be a priority for everyone. Not only does poor oral hygiene summon the obvious spectres of tooth decay and oral and facial discomfort, but infections resulting from lack of proper attention can lead to more serious complications. While the straightforward approach of brushing your teeth twice a day, regularly flossing, using mouth wash and visiting your dentist for a check up at least once every six months are definitely important and effective, there are a number of other things to focus on to ensure your mouth is getting the best treatment it possibly can. 

Watch what you eat and drink!

Proper dental hygiene begins with a healthy diet. Consuming foods and drinks that are high in calcium and vitamins will not only leave you feeling happy and well in your day to day life, but they will also fortify your teeth and help protect your gums from infection. Calcium-rich dairy products like milk, yoghurt and cheese strengthen your teeth and bones, while foods like broccoli and oranges have enough vitamins to keep your immune system functioning well. Other nutrients to look out for include zinc, copper, iodine, potassium and iron. 

At the same time, it's important to avoid products that could harm your teeth. Since your mouth is full of plaque, a bacteria which lives on the sugars and starches found in your food and can cause decay if not removed, it's a good idea to select foods that do not have a lot of sugars and starches in them. Soft drink, alcohol and coffee consumption should be limited since these contain high levels of phosphorous which reduce calcium in the body. They are also known to discolour the teeth and cause decay due to the massive amounts of sugar in them. Using a straw while drinking soft drinks can limit the damage as a straw helps the liquid bypass your teeth altogether.

Be selective about your toothbrush!

The most effective toothbrush is one that is soft and fresh. Hard toothbrushes can scratch and wear away at your enamel, the glossy coating that's designed to protect your teeth. When that goes, your teeth are easier to damage. To counter this, make sure you soften your toothbrush under hot water before use. Throwing out the old and purchasing a new toothbrush once every three months is also important as bacteria can stay on a toothbrush for a long time and is often the cause of infections.

Clean your tongue! 

The rough surface on the top of your tongue is also a bacteria hotspot. When people think of oral health, they usually forget that the tongue is just as important to clean daily as the teeth. Buying and using a professional tongue cleaner, or a toothbrush with a tongue cleaner attached, is essential. This will prevent bad breath and uncomfortable infections in the future. While on the topic of bad breath, avoid tobacco as well if possible!