Broadly defined as keeping one’s mouth clean and free of disease and other problems (e.g. bad breath by regular brushing of the teeth and cleaning between the teeth. Oral hygiene must be carried out regularly to enable the prevention of dental disease and bad breath. The most common types of dental disease are tooth decay and gum diseases, including gingivitis, and periodontitis.
Guidelines suggest brushing twice a day: after breakfast and before going to bed, but ideally the mouth would be cleaned AFTER every meal. Cleaning between the teeth is called interdental cleaning and is as important as tooth brushing. This is because a toothbrush cannot reach between the teeth and therefore only removes about 50% of plaque from the surface of the teeth.
Dental floss is one of the most effective tools to use to clean between the teeth.
Sometimes white or straight teeth are associated with oral hygiene. However, a hygienic mouth can have stained teeth or crooked teeth. To improve the appearance of their teeth, people may use tooth whitening treatments and orthodontics.
Mouthguard and retainer care
Mouthguard, retainers, and other mouth devices must be kept clean. It is recommended that these be cleaned twice a day with a soft-bristled brush and cleansing paste. It is not recommended to use toothpaste, as it is too abrasive for acrylic, and will leave plaque retentive scratches in the surface.
Devices should be taken out at night, as leaving them in when sleeping has been linked to poor oral health. Leaving a device in during sleep reduces the protective cleansing and antibacterial properties of saliva against Candida albicans and denture stomatitis; the inflammation and redness of the oral mucosa underneath the denture.
It is recommended that your QuitGuard should be stored in a dry container overnight, as keeping it dry for 8 hours significantly reduces the amount of Candida albicans on the device.
Routine tooth brushing is the best method of preventing many oral problems, and perhaps the most important activity an individual can practise to reduce plaque buildup. Controlling plaque reduces the risk of plaque-associated diseases such as gingivitis, periodontitis, and caries – the three most common oral diseases. The average brushing time for individuals is between 35 seconds and just over 65 seconds. Health care professionals agree that SOFT tooth brushing should be done for a minimum of two minutes, and be practised at least twice a day. Brushing softly for at least 2 minutes is optimal for preventing the most common oral problems and removes more plaque than brushing for only 50 seconds.
Tooth brushing alone will not remove plaque from all surfaces of the tooth as 41% of the surfaces are interdental.
A technique that can be used to access these areas is dental floss. With the proper technique, flossing can remove plaque and food particles from between the teeth and below the gums.
Reports state 80% of plaque may be removed by this method.
- Unwaxed floss: Unbound nylon filaments that spread across the tooth. Plaque and debris get trapped for easy removal.
- Waxed floss: less susceptible to tearing or shredding when used between tight contacts or areas with overhanging restorations.
The type of floss used is a personal preference;
- Floss length: 18–26 cm wrapped around fingers.
- For upper teeth hold the floss with thumb and index finger, for lower teeth with both index fingers.
- Very gently ease the floss between the teeth using a back and forth motion – do not cut like a saw, this may cause accidental gum bleeding.
- Wrap the floss around the tooth in a C shape.
- Ensure that the floss is taken below the gum margins using a gentle back and forth up and down motion.
Mouth wash or mouth bath
Mouthwash, mouth rinse, oral rinse, or mouth bath is a liquid which is held in the mouth passively or swilled around the mouth by contraction of the perioral muscles and/or movement of the head and maybe gargled, where the head is tilted back and the liquid bubbled at the back of the mouth.
Usually, mouthwashes are antiseptic solutions intended to reduce the microbial load in the oral cavity, although other mouthwashes might be given for other reasons such as for their analgesic or anti-fungal action. Additionally, some rinses act as saliva substitutes to neutralize acid and keep the mouth moist in xerostomia (dry mouth).
Cosmetic mouth rinses temporarily control or reduce bad breath and leave the mouth with a pleasant taste – however, depending on the solution and brand they can tend to dry out the mouth.
Warm salty water is usually recommended after procedures like dental extractions. It can also be beneficial if you receive mouth cut or accidental bite or chomp on your cheeks. Saline has effective cleansing properties and is useful as a healer and support of your inner cheek mucosa.
Do not forget about your tongue as plaque can build up here too. Not only can this lead to bad breath odour, but it can also lead to other oral health problems. Gently brush your tongue every time you brush your teeth.
Your everyday healthcare routine is crucial to your overall oral health. Maintain a positive attitude to your mouth and enjoy the time you spend on it and you will see the benefits throughout your body.
Try our Online Stop Mouth Biting Course
Quit Mouth Biting is an informative course designed to alter the core functioning of your mouth including chewing and mouth posture. We aim to teach and not just tell you what to do. The course is based on research and the daily activities are fun and easy. The lessons are real learning’s from other biters who have successfully quit. We collated the findings of this research and designed new methods to put it into a quit course that we know works. Good luck and have fun! Quitmouthbiting.com