Our teeth make up for one of our most important traits – Our Smile. While this may sound very superficial, anyone who has ever suffered from a toothache, a discoloured tooth, bleeding gums or teeth sensitivity can truthfully say that the experience is otherwise.

To treat teeth as an individual unit in our mouth is a mistake. Our mouth is the aggregate of not just our teeth, but also our gums, jaw bones, joint of the jaws, palate, tongue, lips, cheeks and more. Good oral hygiene means tending to all of these and not just the visible white parts! While no practice is exclusive to just one oral structure, we will be explaining them in this chapter with respect to the teeth.

Brush Regularly, Carefully

Brushing is fundamental. Here is how:

  • Brush twice a day for 2-3 minutes with a soft or medium bristle brush. A hard bristle brush can wear off the enamel surface of teeth and damage the gums. Make sure at the top, back and front of every tooth gently.

  • Brush at a 45 degree angle to your gums with swiping motion downwards. If this is too difficult, small circular motions will do too.

  • Fluoride toothpastes and mouthwashes protects teeth against tooth decay. Toothpastes should have at least 1350 ppm of fluoride.

  • Remember to change your toothbrush every 3 months or when the bristles become frayed.

 

  • Remember to Floss.

 

In all the talk about brushing, flossing gets lost. It is important to remember that decay mostly begins between two teeth where the brush is unable to reach. Flossing along the contours of the tooth surface ensures that these areas remain yuck free! While flossing twice a day before brushing is recommended, a minimum of once is good too according to the American Dental Association.

Regular Care for your Teeth

  • Nay to fermentable carbohydrates:

 

Yep, the hardest substance in the human body, the tooth enamel can be broken down by sweets. When we consume sugars, processed foods with excess sugars and starchy food (crackers, chips, pasta), they are broken down into simple sugars for digestion. These simple sugars are what acid producing bacteria feed on and the acid is what causes tooth decay. The ADA recommends that we keep our sugar intake below 10% of our daily calorie intake as they are directly associated with tooth decay.

 

  • Yay to water, crunchy fruits and vegetables:

 

Fresh fruits and vegetables have a lot of fibre content that act like a literal brush for your teeth as well as our gut. This is especially important for children for the optimum development of their jaws. Water flushes out sticky and acidic foods, thus protecting your teeth naturally between brushes.

 

  • Quit Smoking:

 

Smokers have distinct brown and white discolouration of their teeth surfaces. Smoking has been directly related to various oral cancers. Smoking directly affects the health of the gums as it decreases the ability of the body to heal by it itself.

 

 

  • Visit your Dentist at least twice a year:

 

This may sound repetitive but let us put it in this way: To ensure that your car has a smooth, long run, you service it regularly. Our teeth don’t just work when we eat, but undergo a number of stresses throughout the day. These become apparent on examination and any issues that may arise in the future can be nipped in the bud. For example: in case you are at the start of a dental decay, it can be mended with a dental filling. If delayed, it may infect the pulp which will require root canal treatment and capping. In the worst case scenario, the tooth may have to be extracted! So, why go there when a dental band-aid is all you needed in the first place!

 

The most common problem of the teeth is teeth decay which presents as black or brownish discolouration on the teeth. Pain is usually absent in the initial stages which is why tooth decay goes unnoticed at this stage. Regular dental visits can detect these and prevent them from progressing further. We will discuss more on tooth pain and bleeding going further.

Frequently Asked Questions

No, there are non-fluoride toothpastes too. We recommend ones with fluoride.

 

No, these are extremely hard on the tooth and wear off the enamel in the long run.

 

A pea sized amount for adults, a smear for children under 6 years.

 

Oral care must start before teeth erupt. Use a soft washcloth or a finger brush to clean your child’s gums. Continue doing this even when the first teeth erupt and then progress to using a toothpaste.

    • Does every toothpaste have fluoride?

    • Should we use a whitening toothpaste?

    • How much toothpaste should be used?

    • When should we start brushing kid’s teeth?