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How to Maintain Oral Health

Updated on August 21, 2016
Austinstar profile image

Lela earned a B.A. degree in Journalism from Sam Houston University in Huntsville, TX. She has been writing for the online world for years.

Healthy teeth and gums

Keep your teeth clean and beautiful
Keep your teeth clean and beautiful | Source

Dental and Oral Health - Maintaining healthy teeth and gums.

Everyone knows by now that you should visit your oral care team twice per year. That means going to the dentist no matter how much you hate to do it. Without regular checkups you risk having plenty of problems that can affect your whole mouth.

Don't wait for a dental emergency to get you to go to the dentist. By the time some symptoms show up, it may be too late. Even simple chips in your teeth or bad breath can create major problems the longer they are allowed to go untreated.

Dentists say that with regular twice a year care, you can keep your teeth healthy and viable for your whole life. This means that loss of teeth is not normal as you age, but can be avoided.

Regular brushing and flossing is important for good dental health.

How many times do you brush your teeth every day? Twice a day is the magic number. Flossing once per day is recommended, plus any time you feel you have food particles stuck in your teeth.

Plaque forms over a 24 hour period, so brushing every 12 hours will keep the plaque away. The use of a fluoride and plaque reducing mouthwash twice per day will also help. Use the mouthwash for 20-30 seconds. Don't swallow!

Do you floss before or after brushing? The correct answer is floss before you brush to loosen up anything that may be caught between your teeth that your toothbrush can't reach.

How hard do you brush those teeth? The harder the bristles and the more pressure you apply to brushing your teeth will erode the enamel opening up tiny cracks which hide bacteria. A soft bristle brush and a light touch is better.

Plaque on Teeth

Detecting plaque on teeth through the use of chewable tablets
Detecting plaque on teeth through the use of chewable tablets | Source

Toilets and Oral Health

Did you know that you should brush your teeth at least six feet away from a toilet?

Flushing the toilet can aerosolize bacteria and scatter them as far as six feet away. Closing the lid on the toilet before you flush can help keep the spread of germs down.

Clean your bathroom thoroughly at least once per week to help with good oral hygiene.

Dental hygiene alerts!

  • Change your toothbrush every time you recover from a cold or a sore throat. There is a possibility that germs and viruses can be re-infecting the user.
  • Tell your dentist about any tooth that is sensitive to heat or cold. There could be some thinning of the enamel or nerve damage.
  • See your dental care provider right away if you have signs of bleeding gums. You may be brushing too hard or you may have gingivitis.
  • Check your mouth in the mirror every week for chipped teeth, sores in the mouth, discoloration of the tongue, visible cavities or other signs of problems.
  • Tell your dentist about bad breath. If someone mentions that you have bad breath or drops a bottle of mouthwash off in your mailbox, this may be a clue that you have bad breath and haven't noticed it yourself.
  • Keep hydrated! Dry mouths reduce the presence of natural saliva which washes away debris and bacteria.
  • Fluoride is good for your teeth, but swallowing it can be harmful to your health. Keep fluoride toothpastes and mouthwashes away from children under five years old.

Eating For Healthy Teeth

Good Foods for Teeth
Danger Foods for Teeth
Sticky Cough Drops
Sugar Free Gum
Sugary Hard Candy
Milk with Calcium
Black Coffee or Tea
Fresh Whole Fruits
Colas and Sodas
Sesame Seeds
Popcorn Kernels
Celery and Raw Veggies
Unexpected Bones
Lean Proteins
Fruit Juices
Acidic Food or Drink

How to check your oral health

Just in case you've ever wondered what your uvula looks like!
Just in case you've ever wondered what your uvula looks like! | Source

Smoking and Mouth Cancer

Smoking is the biggest threat to good oral health. Smoking not only stains your teeth to a hideous yellow color, it may cause mouth or oral cancers.

Any part of your mouth (see tonsils diagram) can become cancerous. Cancers of the tongue are the most common, but cancer of the lips, throat, and gums are just as nasty.

If you are concerned about your oral health, quit smoking or using any kind of tobacco products! Go to Wikimedia Commons and search for mouth cancer or oral cancer to see the scariest photos ever. Show them to anyone who smokes or uses tobacco.

How to properly brush your teeth

Did you think you were brushing correctly?

After watching the video, do you believe you are brushing your teeth properly?

See results

© 2012 Lela

Comments - Are your teeth and gums healthy?

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    • jhonsonwin profile image

      jhonsonwin 12 months ago

      Thanks for the post and useful information. This article really helps people to maintain oral health.

    • weestro profile image

      Pete Fanning 5 years ago from Virginia

      I'm glad I read this until the toilet part! Voted up and useful!

    • RealHousewife profile image

      Kelly Umphenour 5 years ago from St. Louis, MO

      Well I've read that when you flush - germs escpe and are flying all over the bathroom! Ew! I don't want that crap on my toothbrush! LOL literally!

    • Austinstar profile image

      Lela 5 years ago from Somewhere in the universe

      That's a good idea. I did not discover that one in my research. Thanks Susan!

    • Just Ask Susan profile image

      Susan Zutautas 5 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Excellent hub! I used to keep my toothbrushes on the bathroom counter in a toothbrush holder that I'd made, until one day I was listening to a radio show about the dirtiest places in the home. They were saying how you shouldn't keep toothbrushes out in the open. Into the medicine cabinet they went.

    • sofs profile image

      sofs 5 years ago

      Great tips and useful information. Changing toothbrushes after an infection or cold seems like a sensible thing to do. Information about toilets and Oral hygiene is great. thanks for sharing. Have a great day.

    • Austinstar profile image

      Lela 5 years ago from Somewhere in the universe

      Well, for sure don't keep toothbrushes by the toilet! LOL

    • RealHousewife profile image

      Kelly Umphenour 5 years ago from St. Louis, MO

      Hey Lela - I know people think I'm weird for this - but I don't! I keep our toothbrushes in the kitchen - the girls brush their teeth in there. I don't see what difference it makes except I'm sure there's no germs from the toilet in their mouths!

      Syd and Mad just went to the dentist and I know it's expensive but it just gets way more expensive if you ignore stuff.

    • Austinstar profile image

      Lela 5 years ago from Somewhere in the universe

      Aren't we all, mia, aren't we all?

      Christopher, I couldn't even bear to show the mouth cancer photos. Yes, there are way too many things that can go wrong with our bodies.

    • miakouna profile image

      miakouna 5 years ago

      Awesome article! Good to know about the toilet and brushing your teeth. I am now nervous about brushing my teeth in my bathroom.

    • christopheranton profile image

      Christopher Antony Meade 5 years ago from Gillingham Kent. United Kingdom

      Very useful hub. Thanks. I didn't think so many things could go wrong with my mouth.

    • Austinstar profile image

      Lela 5 years ago from Somewhere in the universe

      It's probably just as effective to close the lid on the toilet BEFORE flushing. That might mean the aerosols just get sprayed on the lid. Make that a habit and you can probably stay in.

    • rebeccamealey profile image

      Rebecca Mealey 5 years ago from Northeastern Georgia, USA

      Wonderful Hub, Autinstar, packed with info! I will not forget the fact about brushing teeth more than 6 feet from the toilet. Wow, I will have to leave MY bathroom!