Dental health care refers to the optimum maintenance of the health of the teeth and gums. Good dental care can prevent a wide variety of diseases and significantly improve the overall health. Dental health care can include anything from following good oral hygiene practices to modifying certain lifestyle choices.

Why is dental health care important?

Oral health is often considered to be a window to the overall health of the body. The oral cavity is the entry point to the digestive and respiratory systems, and hence any harmful bacteria present in the mouth can be potentially threatening to the normal functioning of these systems. Studies have also linked various diseases like endocarditis, heart diseases, pneumonia to the bacteria that cause gum diseases.

How can I take care of my teeth at home?

Practicing good oral hygiene is the first step towards good oral health. Maintaining good oral hygiene is fairly simple and can be done with these home practices:

 

  • Brushing

 

Studies suggest that brushing your teeth twice daily with a fluoridated toothpaste can significantly reduce the risk of developing dental caries or gum diseases. The optimum duration for brushing is 2 minutes, which can be considered as 30 seconds per tooth quadrant.

 

  • Cleaning in between the teeth

 

Another important aspect of oral hygiene measures is to clean in between the teeth. There areas in between the teeth, also known as interdental spaces, are quite prone to the lodgement of food debris and subsequent development of dental caries. Special attention must be given to these areas to keep them clean. There are several interdental aids available in the market like dental floss, interproximal brushes or oral irrigation devices. You can choose whichever one that works best for you.

What lifestyle changes do I need to adopt for dental health care?

  • Maintaining a healthy diet

 

Limit the intake of sugary and sticky food items like candy, toffees, chocolate and sodas. Drink plenty of water - it is recommended to drink water after each meal. This can help to wash out any food debris. Follow a diet rich in fibres, raw vegetables and fruits.

  • Avoid smoking and tobacco consumption and limit alcohol intake.

 

The ill-effects of smoking and alcohol consumption is widely known. Alcohol and tobacco dries out the mouth by reducing the salivary flow and increases risk of caries and gum diseases.

When to see a dentist?

Regular visits to the dentist can come a long way in the maintenance of oral health. It is recommended to schedule a check-up once in six months. Apart from the regular check ups, you may have to pay a visit to the dentist if you have any of the following signs and symptoms:

 

  • Sensitivity to hot or cold drinks

  • Pain in the tooth, on eating or chewing

  • Constant pain in the tooth or gums

  • Red or swollen gums

  • Bleeding from the gums

  • Foul odor in the mouth

  • Loose teeth or teeth that are drifting