How can I maintain good oral hygiene?
You should follow the given tips to maintain good oral hygiene:
- Brush your teeth before going to bed. During the nighttime, due to inactivity, germs and plaque actively start harming the oral structures. By brushing your teeth before sleeping, all the plaque and bacteria will be removed, and your teeth will be safe from decay.
- Follow the proper brushing technique. Brushing your teeth will be of no use if you don’t follow the proper brushing technique. The most accepted brushing technique is the Modified Bass technique: you should place your brush at a 45o angle to the gums and gently brush back and forth in short strokes. Following this, brush the outer, inner surfaces, and chewing surfaces of your teeth as well.
- Clean your tongue as well. Due to its filamentous nature, the tongue is one of the prime spots for plaque accumulation, which can further lead to oral malodor, bad breath, oral candidiasis, etc. Make sure you have a good solid tongue cleaner you use to clean your tongue every day.
- Use the right toothpaste. Talk to your dentist and select the best toothpaste for you. If you are prone to caries, fluoride toothpaste will be good for you, but if you have sensitive gums and teeth, you may need the right toothpaste for that.
- Floss at least once a day in addition to brushing. Often we are in a hurry when we brush and are unable to clean the surfaces between the teeth. Flossing helps clean these areas and protects them from plaque and cavity buildup. Learn the proper flossing technique so that you can floss without damaging your gums.
- Get a mouthwash. Most people often consider mouthwashes a waste of time or a substitute for brushing. Both these approaches are wrong as mouthwash is a great complement to the oral healthcare routine, in addition to brushing and flossing. A good mouthwash helps reduces the amount of acid in the oral cavity, helps remineralize the carious areas, and cleans the hard-to-reach areas of the teeth.
- Drink plenty of water. Drink lots of water, especially after meals, as it washes off the acidic and sticky food bits and sugary beverages from the teeth and protects them from caries.
- Follow a healthy diet. Crunchy fruits and vegetables help early jaw and tooth development and should be an important part of every kid’s diet. Similarly, sugary and acidic foods can wear down enamel and make the teeth more prone to dental caries, so they should be avoided.
- Get a dental checkup at least 1-2 times a year. Ideally, everyone should visit their dentist once every six months for proper dental cleaning, dental caries checkup, and ensure proper dental hygiene. But if you don’t have any oral issues, you should visit your dentist for a regular checkup at least once a year
How do missing and misaligned teeth affect a person?
Missing and crooked teeth may not seem harmful on the surface, but they can adversely affect your oral hygiene and health in many ways, such as:
- Gum disease and tooth decay: When a tooth is missing or improperly aligned, the teeth near it start shifting to fill its space in the delta arch. Crooked teeth change a person’s bite resulting in improper distribution of occlusal forces to the gums, which can lead to gum disease and tooth decay. Moreover, it is very hard to brush and floss properly with missing, bent, or misaligned teeth. Misaligned teeth also provide ample space for plaque and germ buildup. Thus, missing and crooked teeth are a big contributor to gum disease and tooth decay.
- Speech difficulties: Missing and misaligned teeth can often result in a lisp, and in developing children, it can even lead to irreversible learning disabilities if not treated in time.
- Oral malodor and fungal infections: The excessive plaque buildup in people with crooked or misaligned teeth can lead to bad breath and fungal infections like oral candidiasis.
- Bone loss: Healthy teeth and proper occlusal bite keep the jawbones healthy. If someone has a bad occlusal bite due to missing or misaligned teeth, their jawbone will eventually erode away over time.
- TMJ disorder: Proper occlusal forces also help keep jaw movement and alignment in place, preventing TMJ (temporomandibular joint) disorders from forming. In the absence of proper dental alignment, TMJ disorders can easily develop, leading to symptoms like jaw pain, popping or clicking sounds from the jaw, earache, popping sounds in the ears, headaches, and locking of your jaw joint.
- Facial deterioration: Improper dental alignment due to missing or misalignment of teeth can distort the facial symmetry and lead to sagging, which can result in the skin looking old and wrinkly prematurely. Without teeth to keep the cheeks in place, they appear hollow, and the patient’s appearance can dramatically change.
- Dietary restrictions: Without optimal biting strength (occlusal force), you will have difficulty chewing and won’t be able to eat different kinds of foods. People with a lot of missing teeth are often unable to eat anything but a liquid (or semi-liquid) diet full of soft or processed foods. As a result, they miss out on a lot of nutritious foods like fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, meats, etc., that are an important part of the daily diet.
- Poor facial aesthetics and self-confidence: Poor facial appearance and dietary problems can often detract from a person’s self-confidence. It makes it difficult for them to share meals with friends and family members and often makes them self-conscious during group pictures. All of this can often result in them avoiding any social interactions at all. It can even lead to social anxiety and depression in some people.
Book an appointment with an expert dentist near you right away if you have missing or misaligned teeth to protect yourself from any such dental problems in the future.