The key to that infectious vibrant smile is clean and healthy teeth, not infectious teeth.
YOUR TEETH LOOK CLEAN.. SO THEY MUST BE CLEAN?
Your body is a wonderland that deserves to be treated with care if you want it to work let alone look good.
Teeth are more complex than they are given credit for. Just because they look clean does NOT imply that they are.
If you don’t believe it then take a piece of floss and try to randomly clean any two teeth with it.
You will see some white coloured goo stuck to the floss which is invisible to the naked eye.
Not convinced? Try smelling it. It’s worse than the smell of feet that’s been sweating it out in shoes without any socks.
SO, WHAT’S THIS SEEMINGLY INVISIBLE THING COVERING YOUR TEETH?
PLAQUE. It’s biofilm comprising of microorganisms that are stuck on your teeth. Constantly. They were horrible to read about (8th grade Biology, cells and cell walls and what not?), do you really want them on your teeth lurking around? If not removed, plaque can build up over time and cause all sorts of gum problems and also tooth decay!
Ever had your gums bleed while brushing your teeth? That’s your body’s cry for help. When the film of deposits is around your teeth your body’s response is naturally to fight it. It does so by increasing the blood flow to the area so the infection fighting cells can reach the infection. But when you max out the load, your body exceeds its limits and then it’s high time to visit your dentist.
WHAT CAN YOU DO?
Let’s start with the obvious. BRUSH YOUR TEETH.. TWICE!
Yes, it’s a big ask. Brushing twice a day. Who wants to do that? But come on. It’s 2 mins per session. In real time. Not Maggie time.
Why do we insist on two times and not once?
A) You’re not going to be able to get everything out at once while brushing
B) Everyday is not Karvachauth. You’re going to be eating food that’s going to get stuck in your teeth and act as food for the microorganisms too.
Biology is not an exact science and neither are our human bodies by extension. Some people have more of a tendency to retain plaque and other deposits than the others. So, better safe than sorry?
When teeth aren’t cleaned properly you can experience general soreness or swelling on your gums.
Stand in front of a mirror and pull down your lips. Are your gums pink overall? Or are they red and/or swollen in some areas?
Either way, BRUSH YOUR TEETH TWICE.
If they are red or swollen go to your dentist.
The approach “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” works for televisions and cabinets but not for your body. Brushing your teeth is the bare minimum you can do to keep your teeth clean and healthy and requires very little effort. Brushing your teeth is the first line of defense against plaque for your teeth.
Brushing teeth twice daily can significantly improve your morning breath. (Good for both you and your partner)
But remember, unless you’ve been specifically advised to do so, do not brush more than twice a day. That does not help.
WHAT TOOTHBRUSH IS THE BEST FOR YOU?
Be kind to your teeth and use soft bristles. Not only is it gentler on your teeth but this also enables your brush to get into the nooks and crannies of your teeth and clean it out better than brushes with harder bristles.
Spare your teeth the trauma! Soft tooth brushes efficiently clean your teeth without being harsh on the enamel. Cleaning your teeth is about the right material and technique, NOT the amount of force you use.
If you’re someone who’s keen on using electric toothbrushes then by all means, go for it. Electric toothbrushes are just as good for cleaning your teeth if used properly.
TOOTHPASTE OR TOOTH POWDER?
Toothpastes are the clear winner here. Tooth powders are more abrasive for your teeth than toothpastes. Remember, the goal is to clean your teeth as gently as possible. Toothpastes and toothbrushes are the way to go.
If you have sensitivity then go for a fluoride containing toothpaste. It helps in reducing sensitivity by making your enamel stronger and also helps in remineralising the areas that are beginning to decay.
If you have a greater affinity for deposits then go for a tartar control toothpaste. These have anti-plaque agents that fight off the bad bacteria in your mouth.
INTERDENTAL CLEANING AIDS
Ever snacked while reading a book and dropped some crumbs between the pages? How difficult it is to get it out? That’s what’s happening with your teeth. The plaque goes into the crevices in between your teeth and builds up there so if you want to really maintain good oral hygiene, you’ve got to clean the area.
Brushing alone cannot clean out all of that plaque biofilm. You have to get in between the teeth and clean it out.
And, the way to do that is easy. FLOSS.
Flossing gives you access to the areas between your teeth that even toothbrushes cannot reach. These areas are more difficult to clean therefore have the highest affinity for plaque accumulation and are usually the sites for beginning of gum problems and tooth decay.
Your dentist can show you how to floss properly. As with most things it’s imperative to know the proper technique. Don’t harm your gums.
Flossing goes a long way in helping your oral health. But. Do. It. Properly.
There are floss holders available in the market today that can help you hold your floss in place making it even easier.
It may bleed the first few times when you floss. Don’t be alarmed. That’s normal. Which is also why you need to know how to floss properly so you know when you’re helping your gums v/s when you’re harming your gums.
If you have larger gaps in your teeth then you can also go for interdental brushes. In areas with larger gaps these work the best.
ASK your dentist how to use them, of course. These brushes can make cleaning these areas very easy.
Got some mutton stuck in your teeth? Or some broccoli? Use some floss to remove it. So much more efficient than toothpicks and faster!
Interdental cleaning aids go a long way in helping your teeth remain healthy. Not only your existing teeth but also help in prolonging the life of your caps/crowns.
You can also try ORAL IRRIGATORS which direct a pulsating stream of water through a nozzle to the surface of your teeth. This helps in cleaning out the debris that may be stuck to your teeth.
At the risk of sounding redundant, ASK YOUR DENTIST about it prior to use.
MOUTHWASHES: YAY OR NAY?
YAY. But they are by no means an alternative to brushing or flossing. In the hierarchy of plaque removal they are way down compared to everything mentioned above.
Although they do help in keeping the plaque in control, they are by no means a substitution for any of the methods mentioned above. They work along with toothbrushes and interdental cleaning aids. Never instead of!
Listen to your dentist. Do what’s best for your teeth.
Get your cleaning done professionally every 6 months. Even if you do all of the above? Why?
You know how you clean your house everyday and it appears clean but then comes the time for Diwali cleaning and you discover all this filth in your house that surprises you? Or when you look into the collection box of a vacuum cleaner after you vacuum your house for the first time? That’s why.
There will be areas that won’t be accessible to you, you may have a tendency for plaque retention or a variety of things that can be detected only by your dentist.
Regular dental checkups are not to be avoided.
Treat your teeth with care and you will reap the rewards.