World Oral Health Day was celebrated for the first time on 12th September, 2007. It was a tribute to Dr Charles Godon, the Founder of FDI (Federation Dentaire Internationale), as it was his birthday. However, it was only in 2013, when the annual campaign had found its momentum, that the day was shifted to 20th March. There are reasons why this date was chosen. There were 3 reasons behind it. Firstly, children should be born with 20 teeth; secondly, senior citizens should ideally have 20 natural teeth to be considered healthy; and finally, every healthy adult should have 32 teeth and no dental cavities.
History & Significance Of World Oral Health Day
World Oral Health Day seeks to spread awareness among global citizens about the importance of maintaining oral hygiene daily, throughout their lives. It aims to update everyone about the tools and knowledge about ensuring good oral hygiene through healthy habits, through a combination of self-maintenance and assistance from oral specialists.
Bad oral hygiene often gives rise to a plethora of health conditions – perhaps far more than you can imagine. It only leads to expected and apparent side-effects like discomfort and pain, which evidently affects the quality of life, but may also cause lack of self-confidence and social isolation. To add to that, bad oral conditions may also manifest through severe health conditions, most of which are easily preventable provided you take care of your teeth and gums, and also visit your dentist at regular intervals.
On World Oral Health Day this year, let’s discuss ways to maintain good oral hygiene and oral conditions that you may experience if you don’t do so.
10 Ways On How To Maintain Oral Hygiene
This World Oral Health Day, here are 10 habits you need to follow to maintain perfect oral health and hygiene, keep oral health problems away.
1. Brush Twice A Day
Your science books from your childhood days had emphasised on the habit of brushing your teeth twice, daily. And yet, a lot of you are lackadaisical about it. Either you are in the habit of brushing once every day or skip brushing twice as per your convenience. If good oral health is a priority for you, which it should be, make brushing twice a day mandatory for yourself, which cannot be broken against any circumstances. Refrain from snacking at mid-night after you’ve already brushed post-dinner.
2. Use A Soft-Bristled Brush
This is the very basics of brushing. Use only soft-bristled toothbrushes and steer clear of the medium and hard-bristled ones throughout your life. Contrary to popular perception that only medium and hard bristles can do a good job of clearing your teeth most effectively, it is only the soft variety that is the only one that’s suitable for this purpose. However, it’s best to ask your dentist about the one that will be the best for you.
3. Check For The ADA Seal & Fluoride
The ADA seal stands for the reliability and quality standard of your toothbrush. Your brush should also have fluoride, which is known for fighting plaque and controlling tooth decay.
4. Follow The Right Brushing Technique
We bet, this is something you perhaps haven’t heard about before. You need to hold the toothbrush at an angle of 45°, starting from your gum line. Brush the inside and outside of your teeth, and over all the molars. Make sure you brush every edge, nook, and cranny of both the sides of your pair of teeth. Be gentle on your gums and tongue.
5. Brush Well – Not Less Or More
It is usually recommended that you brush your teeth for at least 2 minutes. Maybe for a little more, but definitely not less. You can perhaps take the help of a timer initially, to get you in the groove, till the time you have a fair idea about how long 2 minutes can be.
6. Never Skip Flossing
Yet another step that most of us are either unaware of or choose to ignore because of lack of effort or time. 18 inches is the most preferred length. Hold it between your index fingers and thumb, and slide it gently between every gap between your teeth. You would rather take the help of your dentist to guide you through the process than read or watch videos as a guide. Floss your teeth once a day.
7. Finish With A Mouthwash
Mouthwashes are great for whitening your teeth, freshening your breath, and most importantly, keeping gingivitis and plaques at bay. These oral conditions are the most common ones that occur as a result of bad oral health. Packed with anti-microbial benefits, this is an essential step you cannot ignore if you want to maintain good oral hygiene.
8. Keep Your Brush Clean
Like your teeth need thorough cleaning, your brush too needs the same. Wash it thoroughly after use and let it air dry. Don’t cage it in a case or share it because it raises the risk of growth and spreading of harmful bacteria.
9. Change You Brush
Everything has its longevity and so does your toothbrush. It is recommended that you change it every 3 to 4 months, unless your dentist advises otherwise.
10. Don’t Forget To Scrape Your Tongue
A tongue scraper helps in getting you rid of excessive oral bacteria, which in turn helps you in keeping your breath fresher and for a longer period of time. So, don’t miss out on this step after flossing.
5 Common Oral Health Problems & How To Prevent Them
On World Oral Health Day, know about 5 of the most common oral health problems.
1. Bad Breath
Known as Halitosis in medical parlance, bad breath is the result of food buildup, bacterial growth, and plaque formation. Certain foods like anchovies, onion, and garlic are known for causing bad breath temporarily. It may also indicate a gum disease or another oral problem. It’s best to see a doctor if you have been experiencing bad breath as it might be the underlying cause of another health condition.
Your teeth expand and contract as a reaction to extreme temperatures. That’s normal. However, your teeth are said to be sensitive when eating foods and drinks of extreme temperatures causes pain and/or irritation. This happening is a clear sign of wearing down of your teeth enamel or developing microscopic cracks, or your gums receding. Even breathing air may cause sensitivity, in extreme cases. Brush and floss your teeth to keep them healthy.
3. Tooth Decay
Cavities, one of the most common oral conditions, adversely affect the quality of life. It gradually turns teeth brown, which is a clear sign of them rotting. Prolonged and frequent exposure to sugars and starches, which creates acids in the mouth, results in tooth decay over time by eating into your tooth enamel. Brush twice a day and floss regularly to prevent your teeth from decaying.
4. Gum Diseases
Known as periodontal diseases in medical terms, this manifests through symptoms like loss of tooth, inflammation, and bone damage. Development of plaque or sticky film of bacteria, is the first sign of a gum disease. It manifests through red and swollen gums. Take care of your gum by brushing the right way, flossing, and using a mouthwash to boost gum health.
5. Orthodontic Conditions
Also known as Malocclusions, this condition makes it difficult for you to bite properly. These conditions can be inherited or acquired. Some acquired causes include crowded teeth, missing or extra teeth, misaligned jaws, or excessive sucking of the thumb as a newborn or toddler. The only way to prevent these conditions from developing over time is to consult a dentist twice a year while your child is still young.
4 Reasons That Explain The Importance Of Regular Visits To A Dentist
On World Oral Health Day, know about why regular visits to a dentist is absolutely non-negotiable to maintain good oral health and hygiene:
- Visit your dentist twice a year, so any developing dental conditions are diagnosed at the early stages and treated effectively.
- An usual dental visit is generally divided into 2 sessions – checkup of your overall dental health and a thorough clean-up, if required.
- During a checkup, your dentist is likely to check for the presence of oral health conditions that might develop in the future.
- Your dentist will also remove plaque and tartar buildup, if they are present, preventing the risk of development of major health conditions of the teeth and gums.
Taking care of your oral health is no rocket science. All you need is to follow the necessary routine of brushing, flossing, and mouth washing daily, a few minutes on hand, and bi-annual dentist visits to keep your teeth and gums in perfect condition. So, on World Oral Health Day do these every day and keep oral health conditions at bay.
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