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Why do Dentists Stress Upon the Need for Oral Hygiene?

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Brighton chapter.

Please contact your dentist of health care provider if you have any concern over your oral hygiene.

Oral health can indicate how good your overall health, well-being and quality of life is. Which is why, it is of utmost importance to maintain oral hygiene. Maintaining oral hygiene not only keeps your teeth clean, but protects you from oral infections like tooth decay and gum disease, and help you avoid bad breath. If you want to know more about oral hygiene and good oral hygiene practices, look no further as this article will tell you all you need to know.

What Happens when Oral Hygiene is not Maintained?

Improper oral hygiene can cause issues like bad breath that can often destroy a person’s confidence, lowering their self-esteem and forcing them to withdraw themselves from social circles.

Not cleaning your teeth and mouth properly leads to food particles and other dirt accumulating in and around your teeth. This causes tooth decay, leading to infection and swelling in the roots, which would then require to be removed via surgical treatments like the root canal treatment. These treatments are often expensive as well, which is all the more reason to maintain good oral hygiene.

“One might think that the need to maintain oral hygiene is negligible, yet the consequences are a few too many.”

Dr Neenu Mary Joesph

The American Heart Association’s study, among many others, show us that improper oral hygiene can even lead to cardiovascular diseases, says Dr Neenu Mary Joseph, Oral and Maxillofacial pathologist.

Studies also found close links between oral hygiene maintenance and the severity of osteoporosis. Read more about it here. Research assessing the association between periodontitis and premature birth also revealed that lack of oral hygiene in pregnant women could lead to premature births.

How to Maintain Oral Hygiene?

  1. Dr Joseph recommends brushing your teeth twice daily, for a duration of two minutes using toothpaste that has fluoride in it, ensuring to not put too much pressure on the gums. Most of our diets contain carbohydrate (sugar) rich food like bread, cereal, juice etc that can stick on to the enamel in the form of plaque. Plaque contains bacteria that can penetrate through the enamel, reaching the layers underneath to cause cavities. This happens not when you forget to brush your teeth at night once or twice, but when you make a habit of it.
  2. Do not brush your teeth more than three times in a day or for more than two minutes at a time, as it can negatively impact your enamel or cause problems like gum recession, advices Dr Joseph. 
  3. Floss your teeth everyday and use soft bristled toothbrushes or switch to electric toothbrushes as they have the option to set a time and is better at removing plaque than a manual toothbrush.
  4. Dr Joseph also suggests visiting a dentist every 6 months, especially if you have other diseases like diabetes or are genetically predisposed to have caries. In such cases, regular visits to the dentist can save you a lot of time and trouble. Also, more than often, only a visit to the dentist would reveal any existing problems in your mouth and oral hygiene, as some people do not even experience symptoms of oral diseases.
  5. Have a healthy diet that includes fresh fruits and vegetables, and cut down on foods high in sugar.

As mentioned at the start, if you have any concern over your dental hygiene please contact your health care provider or dentist to receive a check up!

I'm a postgraduate Journalism student at the University of Brighton. I have a curious mind to satisfy and I find it interesting to write on a variety of topics. I'm aspiring to be a journalist in the near future.