Tips for healthy and lasting teeth

Improper brushing or poor rinsing could result in cavities, gum disease or loss of teeth in the long run

Food, bacteria and tooth structure are the three important things that play an important role in dental hygiene.

The people can control the first two aspects while tooth structure is genetically inherited. But the people’s awareness on tooth care can bring about a lot of difference in unnecessary, costly treatments.

While it is known that the acidic nature of sugar erodes the enamel of the teeth, it is also important to note that the sugary substance becomes a problem mostly when it remains on the teeth.

There are a few habits that the people can include in their daily routines, says Endodontist Dr. C. Rajkrishnan.

While rinsing with plain water is effective, it helps to have a salt water wash at frequent intervals. However, it does become a debatable point in cases of people having hypertension, he added.

While the quantity of sugar intake is a concern, in case of dental care it is also the time period sugar remains in the mouth that makes it susceptible to develop a cavity, said Dr. Rajkrishnan. The same logic goes for carbonated drinks because of the acidic nature, he adds.

Keeping oral hygiene helps to keep gum diseases away. If food remains between the teeth and gets caught in cavities, it becomes fertile ground for bacteria to grow.

Decalcification and plaque deposits invite gum diseases which can result in tooth loss.

It is now well established that gum diseases and diabetes are connected. Those with gum diseases should check up for diabetes and vice-versa. Osteoporosis is another condition that is most likely to affect the teeth.

Dieticians are in favour of vegetables with high fibre and water content, like carrots and celery. Besides being healthy food for the body, they help clean tooth, say the dental doctors.

Young parents are always wondering when to start brushing the kid’s teeth. According to Dr. Rajkrishnan, brushing can start the moment they get teeth.

The teeth can be wiped with a guaze too after rinsing with water.

It is also important that the young children have their milk teeth intact till it sheds on its own. Many a times if there had been a tooth loss because of decay or other reasons, it is left unattended.

In such cases, a shift in the tooth structure may happen, with the molars migrating more towards the gap leaving no space for the new tooth to replace the milk tooth. Advances in dentistry do have solutions to manage these situations now.

Brushing is an important aspect of hygiene to remove food particles and bring down the bacteria. It is equally important how the brushes are kept after use. Usually the whole family keeps their brushes in a single holder, which is rather unhygienic.

Many are also found to continue with the same brush for a year or even two before considering to changing them.

For good cleansing, bristles need to be good. It depends on individual manner of brushing how the bristles get worn out. It is important to get a new brush when they loose their firmness. For some it may last six to eight months too, for some it may last only a month.

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