Mouth hygiene and prevention

When the level of mouth hygiene is low, plaque  is developed. Plaque consist of variety of bacteria forming a gentle and sticky layer over the surfaces of the teeth. Those bacteria are the same bacteria causing caries and gingivitis (inflamed gums). When the plaque  is not removed on a daily basis, it can ossify by ingredients in the saliva creating tartar.  On the harsh surface of the tartar more plaque can very easily accumulate again.

Mouth-HygieneMouth hygiene is the basis for healthy and strong teeth. In addition to good maintenance of your teeth by brushing and flossing at home,  regular visits at the mouth hygienist and the dentist  are required. By doing so possible early stages of caries or periodontal problems can be detected and treated before they get too complicated.  Other preventive activities that can be done by your dentist are sealing and taking x-rays of your teeth once a year in order to observe new caries or inflammatory lesions. Children get, regularly, fluoride treatment to strengthen their teeth.

Sealing (seals)- as their name, are put in the grooves and fissures, sealing them, so food won’t stay in them. The dentist places the sealing material, which is fluid composite, in the groove, and then makes it hard with a blue lamp. As a result the grooves and fissures are shallower and easier to be cleaned.  Sealing life time in the mouth can be couple of years and the process  is entirely painless. Besides,  most of the health insurance companies cover the costs of sealing.

Bad Breath(Halitosis)        

Piled up bacteria and sub gingival plaque  can be the reason for  bad breath. There are  several optional treatments for bad breath according to the source of the problem.

Causes for bad breath:

    • Poor mouth hygiene – food rests in the mouth, bacteria piles up on it. This factor can be easily controlled by improving the mouth hygiene.
    • Progressed decay of teeth can  be the cause of a bad breath. This factor can be controlled by your dentist.
    • Severe progressed periodontitis can cause a bad breath. This disease can be stopped by : you, the mouth hygienist and your dentist by improving your  mouth hygiene.
    • Dry mouth can cause  bad breath. Drinking coffee and  use of some medicines can be the reasons for dry mouth. People who sleep with an open mouth may also complain of dry  mouth. A good remedy in this case is  drinking sufficient liquids. However people who suffer continuously should contact  their dentist, mouth hygienist or general practitioner.
    • Inflamed throat  can cause  bad breath. Your general practitioner can both detect as well as treat  the inflammatory in this case , for example, with  antibiotics.
    • Plaque, accumulating on the tongue.  This is probably by far the most common cause of  bad breath. The plaque is  frequently visible at a fold at the back of the tongue, in which a lot of bacteria pile up , producing sulfurous gases and thereby causing a bad breath. In this case, recommended to brush the back of the tongue as good as possible and if that is not good enough then there are some products available with which the tongue can be extra cleaned. A good product for brushing the back of the tongue is the “tongue scraper?.

How Can You Keep Your Mouth Clean?

Flossing

One should daily clean the spaces between the teeth. This can be done by a dental floss:

  • Take a piece of dental floss, approximately 40 cm and wrap the two edges on both of your third fingers, so about five cm are left in between, grasp each side of the gap with thumb and index fingers so about 2-3 cm piece of dental floss is left tight between the palms of your hands. This piece will be now used.
  • Bring gently,  the tightly stretched dental floss between two teeth, through the contact point till it touches the gums.
  • Avoid saw movements because this damages the gums.
  • The movements should be up and down, each time the floss should touch one of the two opposite walls of the neighboring teeth.

Brushing Your Teeth

By brushing your teeth a minimum 3 times per day with toothpaste and once a day flossing between your teeth or  using toothpicks and mouth-wash,  you can reach a good mouth hygiene. By these actions of  cleaning you remove the bacteria from the teeth. The toothbrush should be placed perpendicular with its hair to the teeth and gums, in an angel of 45 degrees to the point where the tooth meets the gums. The movements then- are back and forth. This should be done on the buccal areas (outer areas of the teeth touching the cheeks), lingual and palatal areas (inner areas touching the tongue) and occlusal areas(chewing surfaces)of the teeth.  Durations time should be  minimum 2.5 minutes. Pay attention to also clean the back side of the back teeth in your mouth.

The Toothbrush

Nowadays manufacturers develops the head of the brush in a way to make it easier to reach the areas at the back of the mouth. Also the fibers are developed to increase the amount of plaque  disposal. Two types of toothbrushes has  been classified.

  • Traditional toothbrush (Manual)
  • Electric toothbrush

The traditional type comes in different varieties according to the level of hardness of its fibers: hard, medium and soft. It is recommended to use the soft one, in order not to damage your teeth and gums.

Here are some  characteristics of a toothbrush in a  good state:

  • The handle must be straight.
  • The head should not be too large (1,5-2,5 cm).
  • The fibers should be straight and in clusters.
  • The fibers should be wound up one after the other.
  • The fibers should be soft but firm.
  • The fibers should be 10-12 mm long.
  • The brush must be easily cleaned.

Electric toothbrushes

These toothbrushes have extra rotations of the head and some also make pulsating  movements which improve the cleaning action and increase its effectiveness.

Toothpick

Toothpicks are used to clean the spaces between the teeth. It has been proven that the toothpick is the most preferable means for cleaning  teeth. It is a cheap product and the use of it is rather simple. Toothpicks are available in several cross-sections and types.  Most of the toothpicks are made of wood. The harsh surface of the wood ensures the disposal of plaque by the scouring functioning. For this reason toothpicks made of plastic are less effective. Rubber toothpicks can be applied when cleaning implants. The standard toothpick has a triangular form to fit the embrasure (space between two teeth) . Before using  a toothpick it should be moistened in the mouth with the saliva. The wood then,  becomes more flexible. Also the chance of splintering  of the wood or demolishing of  its point is  smaller. The flat side of the toothpick, the basis, should be placed on the gums. Hold the toothpick between your index finger and your thumb, the rest of your fingers can be used to support your jaw near the teeth you are cleaning . In this way you get more control concerning your movements  with the toothpick and prevent damaging your gums.  When the toothpick is placed in the embrasure, you should push and pull it  several times.  Pushing  the toothpick should be up to the point when it gets stuck in the embrasure with certain pressure.

Mouth Protectors during Sports

Mouth-ProtectorsDamages of teeth happen frequently with sport accidents. Teeth can break, come loose or fallout due to  trauma. Carrying adapted teeth protection during sports can prevent many of these damages. In case of acute damaged tooth, fast and correct intervention is required in order to prevent an  irreparable damage.  Sport accidents form an important cause of damaged teeth, especially in contact sports or sports where one can be hit by a hard object like a ball or stick . E.g. football, rugby, bicycles, mountain bike, ski, ice hockey, and ball sports.  In some sports, adapted teeth guards is compulsory. Not only in these ‘high risk sports’ teeth trauma should be prevented. Children, frequently,  injure themselves during  gymnastics  at school or while playing. Among adults, the main cause is car accidents. Teeth trauma, involves often upper middle incisors,  wounds of the lip, the chin or the rest of the face.