What is Oral Hygiene?
Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia says, Oral hygiene is the practice of keeping one’s mouth clean and free of disease and other problems (e.g. bad breath) by regular brushing of the teeth (dental hygiene) and cleaning between the teeth. It is important that oral hygiene be carried out on a regular basis to enable prevention of dental disease and bad breath.
The most common types of dental disease are tooth decay (cavities, dental caries) and gum diseases, including gingivitis, and periodontitis.
Recommended Cleaning Of Teeth
General guidelines suggest brushing twice a day: after breakfast and before going to bed, but ideally the mouth would be cleaned after every meal.
Routine tooth brushing is the principal method of preventing many oral diseases, and perhaps the most important activity an individual can practice to reduce plaque buildup. Controlling plaque reduces the risk of the individual suffering from plaque-associated diseases such as gingivitis, periodontitis, and caries – the three most common oral diseases.
The average brushing time for individuals is between 30 seconds and just over 60 seconds. Many oral health care professionals agree that tooth brushing should be done for a minimum of two minutes, and be practiced at least twice a day. Brushing for at least two minutes per session is optimal for preventing the most common oral diseases, and removes considerably more plaque than brushing for only 45 seconds.
Tooth-brushing can only clean to a depth of about 1.5 mm inside the gingival pockets, but a sustained regime of plaque removal above the gum line can affect the ecology of the microbes below the gums and may reduce the number of pathogens in pockets up to 5 mm in depth.
Toothpaste (dentifrice) with fluoride is an important tool to readily use when tooth brushing. The fluoride in the dentifrice is an important protective factor against caries, and an important supplement needed to remineralize already affected enamel.
However, in terms of preventing gum disease, the use of toothpaste does not increase the effectiveness of the activity with respect to the amount of plaque removed.
Cleaning between the teeth is called inter-dental 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. There are many tools to clean between the teeth, including floss and inter-dental brushes; it is up to each individual to choose which tool they prefer to use.
Since tooth brushing alone will not remove plaque from all surfaces of the tooth as 40% of the surfaces are inter-dental. One technique that can be used to access these areas is dental floss. When the proper technique is used, flossing can remove plaque and food particles from between the teeth and below the gums. The American Dental Association (ADA) reports that up to 80% of plaque may be removed by this method. The ADA recommends cleaning between the teeth as part of one’s daily oral hygiene regime.
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.
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