Saturday, February 23, 2013

Some invaluable notes on oral care

We have all along known the importance of dental hygiene, but could never whip up enthusiasm to pursue it religiously.

Blame it on the smattering of information available, we are left wondering from where to begin, and if one can ever do it the right way.

Aesthetic dentistry expert Dr Sushant Umre exchanges some invaluable notes on oral care.

Most appropriate way to brush your teeth

Proper brushing is essential for cleaning teeth and gums effectively. Use a toothbrush with soft, nylon, round-ended bristles that will not irritate teeth or damage gums.

Place bristles along the gumline at a 45-degree angle. Bristles should contact both the tooth surface and the gumline. Gently brush first, the outer tooth surface and then the inner surface of the tooth using a vibrating back and forth rolling motion.

Tilt brush vertically behind the front row of teeth. Make several up and down strokes using the front half of the brush. Place the brush against the biting surface of the teeth and use a gentle back and forth scrubbing motion. Brush the tongue from back to front to remove odour-producing bacteria.

You may want to supervise your children until they get the hang of these simple steps. Use a pea-sized dab toothpaste, preferably fluoride free if the child is below six years of age and take care that your child does not swallow the toothpaste.

The right tooth paste and toothbrush

Use a toothbrush with soft, nylon, round-ended bristles that will not irritate teeth or damage gums. One of the main things to look for in a toothbrush are its bristles. Most dentists recommend soft bristles, especially for those individuals who have sensitive teeth and gums. Both adults and children should use a toothbrush that has soft bristles. Toothbrushes with harder bristles are not more effective at removing plaque or stains.

Be sure to select a toothbrush head size that can easily fit into the mouth and is capable of brushing a row of teeth at a time. With this in mind, be sure to select a toothbrush with a very small head for a very young child.

Toothbrushes should be replaced about every three months or earlier if the bristles begin to look worn or frayed (bristles that fan out or spread is a sign that it is time to get a new toothbrush).

After consulting with your dentist or hygienist about your oral health's greatest needs, look for products within that category (for example, within the tartar control brands or within the desensitizing toothpaste brands). Always pick a toothpaste that contains fluoride. Fluoride toothpastes have been shown to prevent cavities, but in children under six years of age it can be avoided as they have a tendency to swallow it.

Early beginnings

Proper dental care can begin before an infant gets his/her first tooth. Soon after the baby gets the first tooth, make an appointment to see the dentist.

Rinsing mouth after eating

If you don't rinse your mouth after meals, particles of food remain in the mouth, collecting bacteria, which can cause bad breath. Food that collects between the teeth, on the tongue and around the gums can rot, leaving an unpleasant odour. Dentures that are not cleaned properly after meals can also harbor odour-causing bacteria and food particles.

Limit coffee, tea and alcohol. Caffeine products as coffee, tea and colas act as diuretics which in turn contribute to a dry mouth. Water is the best solution so drink plenty of liquids at least 8-12 glasses of fluid a day, unless advised otherwise by your doctor.

Tackling bad breath

Certain foods, such as garlic and onions, contribute to objectionable breath odour. Once the food is absorbed into the bloodstream, it is transferred to the lungs, where it is expelled. Brushing, flossing and mouthwash will only mask the odour temporarily. Odours continue until the body eliminates the food. Beware dieters, as you may develop unpleasant breath from infrequent eating.

Bad breath can also be caused by dry mouth (xerostomia), which occurs when the flow of saliva decreases. Saliva is necessary to cleanse the mouth and remove particles that may cause odour. A dry mouth may be caused by various medications, salivary gland problems or continuously breathing through the mouth. If you suffer from a dry mouth condition, your dentist may prescribe artificial saliva, or suggest using sugarless candy and increasing your fluid intake.

Tobacco products too can cause bad breath. If you use tobacco, ask your dentist for tips on kicking the habit.

If you think you have constant bad breath, keep a log of the foods you eat and medications you take. Some medications may play a role in creating mouth odours. Let your dentist know if you've had any surgery or illness since your last appointment.

Brush twice a day with fluoride toothpaste to remove food debris and plaque. Brush your tongue, too. Once a day, use floss or an interdental cleaner to clean between teeth.

Tooth jewellery, a good idea!

Tooth jewellery is an elegant compliment to standard jewellery. When placed on the tooth, the jewellery creates a distinctive expression of one's individuality. A range of glass crystals are available in nine different colours - diamond, rainbow, ruby, sapphire, emerald, emerald green, aquamarine, pink, sapphire light.

If somebody thinks he or she was better off without tooth jewellery, it can be easily removed without any side-effects on the dental tooth structure as the procedure is non-invasive. What's more, tooth jewellery can be fixed again at a later stage so there is no real disadvantage to having it done.

Dental reconstruction a fad with brides, models

One of the first things people notice about you is your smile. A healthy attractive smile can boost your confidence and enhance your personal and professional life and this is exactly what a blushing bride or aspiring model is looking for.

Until recently, most people were satisfied if their teeth were straight and free of stains, chips or other obvious imperfections. But in the last few years, the combination of Hollywood glamour and advances in cosmetic dentistry most people want their teeth to be perfectly uniform and dazzlingly white.

Cosmetic dentists have also pioneered a technique called computer imaging that allows them to perform virtual restorations on a computer screen. A patient who is thinking about having work done can see what the results will look like before he or she makes the decision to go forward. New composite resins, invisible fillings, porcelain veneers and high-strength resin cements are stronger, long-lasting and do not change colour over time which combined with new single sitting teeth whitening technology can give both women and men just the sparkling smile that they want.

Care for gums

Periodontal (gum) disease is an infection of the tissues surrounding and supporting the teeth. It is a major cause of tooth loss in adults. Periodontal (gum) disease is caused by plaque, a sticky film of bacteria that constantly forms on the teeth. These bacteria create toxins that can damage the gums.

The good news is that you can help prevent periodontal disease by taking good care of your gums every day and having regular dental checkups. Here's how to keep your gums healthy:

- Brush your teeth well twice a day

- Clean between your teeth every day

- Eat a balanced diet

- Choose a variety of foods from the basic food groups, such as breads, cereals and other grain products; fruits; vegetables; meat, poultry and fish; and dairy products, such as milk, cheese and yogurt. Limit between-meal snacks

- See your dentist every few months