Oral Hygiene

Indications of compromised oral hygiene

  • Blood in your mouth while brushing
  • Bad breath 
  • Pain or swelling in or around the mouth
  • Inability to eat cold, hot, or sweet comfortably
  • Food getting stuck in between teeth
  • Cavities on the roots visible
  • Any kind of ulcer or pus in the mouth 
  • Loose teeth present

Importance of good oral hygiene

  • Oral health depicts the overall general health
  • Many serious conditions can be diagnosed by various signs & symptoms presented in the mouth
  • Taking care of oral cavity including teeth, gums, tongue; ensures overall good health
  • Beautiful looking smile boosts the confidence
  • Bad breath can stop one from meeting and interacting with people
  • Taking good care of teeth can help retain the teeth for a longer time
  • Compromised oral health can keep you away from enjoying various types of food

Maintaining good oral hygiene

Practical tips and tricks to keep our teeth sparkling and shining

Maintaining good oral hygiene


Follow proper brushing technique

  • Never back and forth the toothbrush aggressively while brushing, you are doing more harm than good.
  • Hold your toothbrush at a 45 degree angle and brush using a sweeping movement
  • Brush for 30 sec for quadrant 
  • Try to reach the last tooth consciously 
  • Brush on the interior side of the mouth as well
  • Brush for 2 minutes every day
  • Brush twice a day
  • Be gentle
  • Do not apply extra pressure 
  • Here is a pictorial representation


  • There are a variety of toothbrushes available
  • Choose the one with soft bristles 
  • Prefer the crisscross arrangement of bristles
  • Can be manual or electric
  • Replace the toothbrush every 3 months
  • Specific toothbrushes are available for children


  • It has been proven that fluoridated toothpaste serve the best purpose.
  • Take the pea-sized amount 
  • There are various types of ingredients in toothpaste prescribed according to specific requirement
  • Let the dentist decide the best suitable option for you


  • There are two types of mouthwashes 1. Cosmetic 2. Therapeutic
  • Cosmetic mouthwashes are just used to rectify the bad breath or to feel fresh for time being without offering any added advantage
  • Bad breath is also known as Halitosis
  • Therapeutic mouthwashes, however provide one or more benefits in addition to the minty feeling
  • Therapeutic ones can be used to control gum disease, film deposition on teeth, decay, and bad breath
  • There are certain active ingredients present in the therapeutic ones, which are responsible for treating the underlying cause
  • Mouthrinse by no means is intended to replace brushing or flossing, it is just an extra step taken to ensure good oral health
  • They can be beneficial in certain cases and should be advised by a dentist
  • One should use the prescribed quantity for the desired effect
  • Mouthrinse should not be used just before or after brushing
  • Always wait for some time between brushing and rinsing the mouth with a mouthwash

Additional cleaning aids


  • Flossing is intended to remove any food lodged in between teeth
  • It should be considered an important step in maintaining good oral health
  • It is used as an interdental cleaning aid
  • These surfaces are hard to clean with just a toothbrush
  • Recommended for patients with closed interdental spaces

Interdental brushes

  • Interdental brushes are also available in the market
  • Intended to clean interdental spaces just like floss
  • Recommended for patients with open interdental spaces

Other cleaning aids

There are several other cleaning aids available

Oral irrigators

  • They are used to apply pressure using water
  • Help in removing the loose food particles
  • Proven to be useful in reducing inflammation

Tongue scrapers

  • Cleaning the tongue is of equal importance
  • Can be used to reduce any oral bacteria from growing in the mouth
  • Can be made of wood, plastic, or metal
  • Should be used before brushing the teeth


  • One commonly tends to use a toothpick to get rid of food stuck in between teeth
  • However, toothpicks should not be used on a regular basis.
  • Toothpick can harm the gums and lead to infection
  • Flossing is a better alternative, and one should rely on a toothpick only when no other option is available

Importance of a healthy smile

  • A pleasant smile boosts the confidence
  • One does not feel shy to interact with people around
  • It is aesthetic and helps in maintaining the quality of life

Importance of teeth 

  • Teeth serve the role in proper chewing hence proper nutrition
  • They help in maintaining the natural alignment
  • It helps you speak properly and clearly
  • Helps maintain the profile of the face

Importance in diagnosing medical conditions

Many diseases demonstrate certain clinical signs and symptoms in the oral cavity


  • Most patients with diabetes come with gum diseases, dry mouth or bleeding , and receding gums and are also prone to fungal infections
  • This with other risk factors makes the dentist suspect uncontrolled blood sugar

Oral Cancer

  • Any abnormal ulcer, red or white spot lesions can be found in the mouth by a dentist
  • This might help in timely diagnosis and treatment


  • Patients with Gastro Esophageal Reflux disorder (GERD) present with erosions on teeth surface
  • The patient might not even realize the acid reflux in the mouth
  • Timely treatment can help both, the digestive system and the mouth, to control the damage


  • A patient may come with chipped and eroded tooth surfaces
  • It can be caused by grinding the teeth also known as bruxism
  • Patient might be doing it at night while asleep and not realizing it
  • A dentist may recommend a nightguard to save the teeth from undue wear and tear


  • One might present with bone loss or a jaw fracture
  • It can be indicative of the low bone density
  • Dentist then recommends the patient to an orthopedician

Rheumatoid arthritis

  • A patient can exhibit early signs and symptoms in the mouth
  • These include pain in or around the jaws, swelling, or inability to open the mouth

Bacterial growth in the mouth can have adverse effects

Harboring oral microbes in the mouth have been scientifically proven to be linked with

  • Endocarditis- It is an infection of the inner lining of the heart. Strange but true fact, certain germs from the mouth can enter the bloodstream and get attached to the heart leading to this condition.
  • Cardiovascular diseases-It has been shown that oral bacteria might be one of the underlying causes of various heart diseases.
  • Lung disease- It has been proven that certain bacteria can get into the lungs leading to various respiratory diseases, like pneumonia

Oral hygiene and pregnancy

  • Pregnancy causes hormonal fluctuations that can alter saliva production in the mouth
  • Pregnancy is also related to increased gum problems and cavities
  • It is important to consult a dentist as it can be handled by a specialist
  • Pregnant women can and should get the required dental treatment done
  • Unattended dental problems can further lead to premature delivery and low birth weight

Oral hygiene in children

  • Taking care of children’s teeth is equally important
  • We need to know the how’s and why’s of monitoring oral health in children
  • Clean the mouth with a soft damp cloth even when there are no erupted teeth present in the mouth
  • Start with brushing the teeth as soon a tooth erupts in the mouth
  • Use a rice grain-sized amount of children’s toothpaste, twice a day, till 3 years of age
  • After 3, shift to a fluoridated toothpaste keeping it twice a day
  • Children can develop cavities that need to be treated by a specialist
  • Try to monitor sugar intake in children
  • Visit the dentist regularly
  • Regular dental visits can help diagnose developing cavities on time
  • A dentist can also recommend topical fluorides, pit & fissure sealants, varnish application, etc according to specific needs

Dental treatments

Getting dental checkups done every 6 months is of utmost importance

The dentist at this visit can gauge oral health and can prescribe a suitable treatment.

Several treatments that can be recommended to a specific patient are as follows

  • Scaling & Polishing
    • It helps clean the teeth of any stains or calculus (hard deposits)
    • Helps maintain a clean and healthy dentition
    • Helps maintain good gingival health
  • Bleaching
    • Helps keep the teeth whiter
    • Recommended for people concerned about the color of teeth
  • Fillings
    • A dentist can recommend a filling if it is a newer cavity
    • Timely restoration can help avoid further damage and treatment
    • There are a variety of materials available and can be done according to patient’s need`
  • Root canal treatment
    • Recommended to a patient with advanced tooth decay
    • Can be done in a single or multiple visits
    • Helps in dealing with pain and discomfort due to infection
  • Crown or cap
    • Advised to a patient who has undergone root canal treatment
    • Can be advised to improve aesthetics
  • Extraction
    • Advised when a tooth cannot be saved
    • Also done for third molars, also known as wisdom teeth
    • The extraction can be simple or surgical depending on the tooth to be extracted
    • Also done for patients who want to get braces
  • Dental Implant
    • Can be advised in case of a missing tooth or when an extraction has been done
    • Helps retain the space and function of the tooth
  • Dentures
    • Given for patients with no teeth 
    • Can be given with or without implants
  • Prosthetic treatment
    • A fixed or removable partial denture can be given for patients with one or more teeth missing
    • Multiples can be given according to the requirement
  • Smile Designing
    • Smile can be made more aesthetic using veneers, laminates, and composite fillings
    • An ideal smile can be curated using these techniques
  • Orthodontic treatment
    • Can be done for aligning the crooked teeth
    • One should consult a doctor at the age of 12-13 to get the treatment started
    • However, it does not mean that adults cannot get the orthodontic treatment done, they sure can
  • Fluoride treatment
    • Fluoride treatment can be advised for patients who are at high risk of developing cavities
    • This helps reduce the rate of spread of decay in such cases
  • Periodontal surgeries
    • Certain surgeries can be performed for patients with gum defects
  • Trauma cases
    • Loss or chipped tooth due to an accident or other trauma, can be treated by the dentist
    • Fractures of the jaw and mouth are also attended by a dentist
  • Dental Treatment for Children
    • Children have their own specific needs to be taken care of
    • Given the present dietary changes, cavities in children have become extremely common
    • Cavities in children should be treated well on time
    • There are specific procedures for children undertaken by a specialist
    • Fluoride treatments can also be done for children more prone to caries
    • Root canals and caps are also placed done for children
    • We need to take special care if any tooth of a child has been lost before the usual time
    • The space needs to be well maintained to help permanent teeth erupt in place with the help of space maintainers
    • Children usually fall while playing and tend to have injuries to the teeth
    • There are special treatments like pulpotomy, revascularization, etc to save such teeth
    • There are specific requirements for oral hygiene in children

Maintaining good oral hygiene

  • Brush twice a day 
  • Replace your toothbrush every 3 months
  • Start flossing your teeth 
  • Get regular cleanings done from a professional
  • Limit sugar intake in foods and beverages
  • Stick to a high fiber diet
  • Avoid sticky food products
  • Adhere to the routine of keeping the mouth clean
  • Avoid the use of tobacco 
  • Avoid smoking

 Regular visits to a dentist can save the hassle. It won’t be wrong to say that dental treatment is not expensive, neglect is.

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