Dental health is important – that’s the bottom line. Poor dental hygiene can affect not just your confidence but can also lead to some serious health problems. The good news: good oral hygiene is a sure shot way to prevent most of them. The main cause of exasperating dental issues is the lack of knowledge about dental care. Luckily, we invited Dr Alina Nasir, a cosmetic dentist and facial aesthetician, to answer your burning dental health questions. Read on to find out everything she taught us!
The Morning Routine
Myths surrounding the best time to brush your teeth in the morning have always confused us. But the rules for oral hygiene are not as hard and fast as you may think. Whether you brush before or after breakfast – what matters is that you brush. However, Dr Alina recommends starting your day by gargling and having two glasses of water to stimulate saliva before breakfast. Then proceed to brushing your teeth right after breakfast. If your morning meal contains anything acidic (such as orange juice) – dentists recommend waiting for 30 minutes before brushing your teeth, as the acid can interact with your teeth enamel which may damage your teeth if you brush it right away.
The Secret To Brushing Right
Brushing your teeth goes beyond using the right toothpaste – the brushing motion and toothbrush can also play a key role. The general rule to follow is picking a toothbrush that isn’t too big but can reach all parts of your mouth. Alina also suggests using a soft, criss-cross bristled brush and brushing in circular motions at a 45-degree angle. Make sure your toothbrush is not too hard as this may irritate your gums. A good fluoride toothpaste works for most people unless you have sensitive teeth, in which case use a sensitive toothpaste. Remember, all three sides of your teeth – outside, inside and chewing surfaces – should be cleaned properly.
Fight The Yellow
Maintaining sparkling white teeth may not be possible for all, as the shades of teeth vary from person to person. However, extreme discolouration can be treated. To get rid of yellow stains, it is first important to know the causes, which are divided into two stain categories – extrinsic and intrinsic. Extrinsic stains occur when the outer layer of the tooth (the enamel) is stained, which can be caused by tea, coffee, food colouring and tobacco. Intrinsic stains occur when your tooth’s inner structure (dentin) is stained, which can be caused by a dental trauma, overexposure to fluorine at an early age, medications you are taking, medications your mother consumed while she was pregnant with you, as well as age and genetics. To help diminish the yellowness of your teeth, Alina says: “Use a mouthwash, brush your teeth effectively (twice a day), avoid staining foods and drinks, and visit your dentist regularly.”
Sometimes You Just Have To See Your Dentist
If you spot anything unusual inside your mouth, whether it’s black patches or an ulcer that’s been present for longer than 3 weeks, or anything else for that matter, you need to consult your dentist immediately. Black patches spotted on your tongue or gums could be pigmentation patches, melanin patches, a condition called black hairy tongue or cancer. Alina emphasises not delaying the visit to your dentist at any cost.
Be Gentle On Your Gums
Gum bleeding is one of the most common issues among dental patients. Bleeding gums are caused by insufficient plaque removal. The germs present in plaque attack the healthy tissue surrounding one’s teeth and cause inflammation within the gums, which eventually lead to bleeding. To treat bleeding gums, our expert recommends brushing your teeth with a soft bristled brush and using it gently. Alina also says that bleeding gums mean it’s time for a professional dental cleaning – so visit your dentist for a thorough check-up!
Bad Breath Breakers
Naturally, everyone actually has bad breath, but there are several ways to ensure that you do not carry it with you throughout the day. Severe bad breath is a medical condition known as halitosis. It is usually a result of bad dental health habits and may lead to other health problems. Other factors that can worsen this issue include your eating habits and unhealthy lifestyle. To get rid of bad breath, Dr Alina recommends the following: good oral hygiene, flossing is important as it cleans 35% of your tooth structure which is left out while brushing, gargle with a mouthwash, use a tongue scraper to clean that surface, make sure you’re hydrated because a dry mouth also causes bad breath, avoid foods which contain onion and garlic before any public interaction, get your tonsils checked as a lot of times the bad smell is coming from the back of your throat and not your mouth, and lastly avoid smoking!
Stress – The Cause of Bruxism
Most people grind their teeth while sleeping, medically speaking this is called bruxism. It’s very harmful and can cause damage to your teeth and jaw joint and also raise other dental health issues. Bruxism is usually caused by anxiety or stress before sleeping. A sleep disorder can also be a factor. To stop grinding teeth while sleeping, Dr Alina says to try relaxation exercises before sleeping and emphasises on wearing your night guards before going to bed to avoid any damage to your jaws.
Invisible Braces FTW
Braces are most commonly used to straighten misaligned or crooked teeth. But because of the discomfort and unattractive look, many people opt out of getting braces. Modern technology has solved this issue now – and it’s called invisible braces. Ceramic braces are also another option but our dental expert Dr Alina is all praises for invisible ones.
Importance Of Flossing
Flossing is a key element to oral hygiene and health as it helps prevent cavities and gum diseases. It also cleans and removes plaque from 35% of your teeth’s area where a toothbrush may not be able to reach. Not flossing is the major cause of tooth loss among adults. Dr Alina stresses the benefits of flossing and suggests doing it every day. You can floss anywhere, anytime, just don’t go too hard, as aggressive flossing can damage the tissue between your teeth.
What Comes After Braces?
Braces are a first step to align your teeth – not in any way the end of your treatment. After your braces are off, the role of retainers begins – a vital part of maintaining your teeth’s alignment. There are two types of retainers, which are used after braces – fixed and removable. You can consult your dentist to choose which type is right for you. Dr Alina advises to keep retainers on for a whole year after your braces come off.