New Year, New Oral Health Maintenance Goals!
Have you entered the New Year with brave resolutions for a new you? Health goals are often the most popular area for self improvement as we enter into a brand new year- a fresh canvas consisting of 365 days of opportunity.
But too often we focus on hitting the gym a certain number of times a week or losing a certain number of kilos instead of attempting to carve out better daily routines and small but consistent habits. It’s here where the potential for huge benefit resides.
One area of health that requires your constant attention and one that only requires small changes for big impact is your oral health. And the importance of your ongoing oral health maintenance cannot be overstated.
What is Oral Health?
Oral health is predominantly the term used by dentists to describe a clean and well maintained mouth.
More technically speaking, the World Health Organisation describes Oral Health as “a state of being free of mouth and facial pain, oral infections and sores, and oral and other diseases that limit an individual's capacity in biting, chewing, smiling, speaking, and psychosocial well-being.”
There are a number of unpleasant issues that can arise if we neglect our oral health maintenance, but identifying the issue and knowing your priorities for a happy mouth is key - so let’s delve into some of the details below.
What are the Risks associated with Poor Oral Health?
According the the WHO, currently “the majority of oral health conditions are: dental caries (tooth decay), periodontal diseases, oral cancers, oral manifestations of HIV, oro-dental trauma, cleft lip and palate, and noma (severe gangrenous disease starting in the mouth mostly affecting children).”
How to know if your Oral Health is not currently well maintained
Some patients exhibit several common indications of poor oral hygiene.
Poor oral hygiene manifests in a number of different forms, from bleeding or swelling gums to toothaches, growths in the mouth and alterations to the tongue's surface.
Whilst some symptoms are obvious, some can go undetected and can lead to sinister outcomes. For instance, some patients notice growths in their mouth, while others have them pointed out by the treating dentist. What matters is that the growth is identified and treated in a timely manner.
By making a commitment to oral hygiene and following through, you might not experience any of the poor oral hygiene signs noted above.
How can we Maintain Optimum Oral Health?
The Mayo Clinic reminds us that “normally the body's natural defenses and good oral health care, such as daily brushing and flossing, keep bacteria under control,” but it is within these small actions where you can find little improvements. There are also some other lifestyle changes that can assist you in maintaining optimum oral health.
Flossing is a skill and just like any other skill, continued practice makes perfect!
According to a leading oral health brand, there are the three clear and simple steps to successful flossing:
- Pull approximately 30 centimetres of dental floss from the floss dispenser.
- Wrap the ends of the floss around your index and middle fingers.
- Hold the floss tightly around each tooth in a C shape; move the floss back and forth in a push-pull motion and up and down against the side of each tooth.
If you experience difficulty with this traditional method of flossing, you can also access tools specifically designed to help you floss with ease and convenience. Take some time to peruse through the dental hygiene section of your local supermarket next time you visit. You might just uncover something truly exciting!
Similarly to flossing, brushing is often undertaken but commonly by using incorrect technique. It always surprises us how much of an improvement our clients find in their overall oral health when we show them some slight changes in their brushing routine.
A leading oral product manufacturer lists some steps on how to practice appropriate brushing:
- Place the toothbrush at a 45°angle along the gum line. Move the toothbrush in a small, circular motion, and repeat for each tooth.
- Brush the inside surface of each tooth, using the same back and forth technique.
- Brush the chewing surface (top) of each tooth.
- Use tip of brush to brush behind each tooth — front and back, top and bottom and up and down strokes.
- Be sure to brush your tongue to remove odour causing bacteria.
A healthier diet can significantly reduce your chances of having poor oral health, so when considering how you can improve your oral health maintenance this year, look inward on your food intake. Is your diet balanced or have you been indulging a little too much in high-salt, high-fat foods and drinks?
Try and follow the Australian Guidelines to Healthy Eating as closely as possible to ensure you are giving your oral and overall health the best chance of wellbeing.
Some of our everyday bad habits can also be detrimental to our oral health, such as smoking, drinking and indulging our sweeter side.
For the best oral outcomes, try to limit alcohol intake and remove the use of tobacco from your list of to-dos in the year ahead! Additionally, as mentioned above, limiting your intake of ‘sometimes and small amounts’ foods can help significantly in improving your oral health and reducing your risk of oral diseases and infections.
Finally, remember to visit your dentist regularly. Visiting at least once a year is recommended, regardless of whether you have dentures or your natural teeth.
We perform thorough examinations and discuss all the options available in modern dentistry, supporting you in any decisions you care to make.
And, as we believe that prevention is better than a cure, our efficient hygiene department is here to provide regular active maintenance.
The team at Morrin Dental is committed to making your visit a comfortable and professional experience.
We offer an extensive range of general and cosmetic dental services, from our professional and passionate team dedicated to delivering patients better oral health care.
Contact us today to book your appointment and start your journey toward better oral health maintenance.