As our lives are getting busier daily, oral hygiene is one of the things that gets neglected. What many people fail to realize is just how essential good oral health is to the overall health.
Proper oral hygiene is essential to keeping plaque, tartar and bacteria from causing bad breath, eating away the enamel and damaging your gum and bones. It is important to visit Dr. Kim’s office regularly and discuss the overall condition of your mouth and your current oral hygiene practices.
Who is susceptible to dental hygiene problems?
There are four segments of the population who are most susceptible to oral hygiene issues.
- Pregnant women – Pregnancy hormones affect saliva production, the body’s natural cavity fighter. Decreased amounts of saliva have been shown to lead to increased risk of gum disease. Pregnant women with untreated gum disease (gingivitis) are also at increased risk for premature birth and underweight babies.
- Children – Children have two things going badly for them in terms of oral hygiene. They are yet to understand why good oral hygiene is important, and they don’t have the dexterity to manipulate a toothbrush or dental floss properly.
- People who are HIV positive – “80% of people with HIV disease will present at least one oral manifestation at some time during the course of their infection.” (www.thebody.com)
- People with Celiac Disease – 90% of people with Celiac Disease experience issues with quality of tooth enamel which leaves them prone to cavities, sensitivity, and discoloration.
Why is dental hygiene important?
Dental or oral hygiene is the process of keeping your mouth clean, strong and healthy. Ideally, it includes both daily habits like brushing, flossing and also professional dental care. A comprehensive dental hygiene regimen is important to ensure oral health is maintained and any issues are caught and treated early.
Removing food particles and bacteria from your mouth is crucial to keeping your gums and smile healthy. Plaque begins to form on completely clean teeth within three to four hours of brushing.
What does a good oral hygiene regimen include?
Brushing – Most people know that we should brush at least twice a day, preferably in the morning and before bed. But most aren’t aware that they’re brushing incorrectly. Using incorrect techniques or brushing too hard with too hard a toothbrush can actually cause more damage to your teeth.
Brushing the tongue – Many don’t realize that the tongue harbors odor-producing bacteria as well as teeth and gums and needs to be cleaned every time you brush
Flossing – Flossing should be done at least once a day either before or after brushing. Flossing loosens plaque and food particles in hard-to-reach spaces between the teeth while stimulating gum health, keeping them pink and healthy.
Balanced diet – Most people don’t realize that what they eat affects their teeth. In our fast-paced society, many on-the-go meals are high in starches and sugars which produce an acid that attacks tooth enamel. Choosing healthier meals, including fruit and veggies which stimulate saliva production, less sticky snacks in between, and plenty of water will make the difference in the health and appearance of your teeth.
If you are concerned about how you are brushing or what you can do to make simple lifestyle changes, call Dr. Kim’s office at (410) 721-3567. How your teeth look, feel, smell, and function plays a huge role in your self-confidence and how people perceive you. Let Dr. Kim and his staff help you take control of your smile.