A study published by the National Center for Biotechnology mentioned that oral behavior is positively affected when older adults enter institutional facilities. This is because nursing home personnel who take care of these older adults have a high level of knowledge and a positive attitude about the matter.
However, one does not need to enter an elderly care institution to start caring for oral health. Oral care is a type of self-care that must not be neglected and must be practiced while young.
What Is Oral Health Care?
Oral health is defined as the mouth’s overall health, including all of its parts and those surrounding it. It includes taking care of the teeth, gums and throat, and even the surrounding bones. Without proper oral health care, problems such as gum disease and other oral diseases may follow.
Diseases due to poor oral health care are not just limited to the mouth. From a simple gum disease, it can develop into teeth loss. Worse, bacteria that gather in the mouth due to poor dental hygiene may travel from the mouth to other parts of the body, developing into further complications that make you extremely sick. Pregnant moms must especially take care of their dental health because it may affect the unborn child’s health. Thus, they must practice good oral habits and visit their trusted dentist regularly.
Therefore, oral care is self-care; it is a way of taking care of one’s body and physical health. Aside from this, having a healthy mouth and teeth can also boost your self-confidence and esteem. It allows you to smile without worries, and a happy smile is a road to a stress-free life.
Self-care Routine for Oral Health
The American Dental Association shares home care practices for oral health. It says that dentists must advise patients to brush their teeth regularly, at least two times a day.
ADA recommends using toothpaste with fluoride when brushing the teeth. Fluoride is the most popular form of fluorine. It is well-documented that it can help prevent dental caries, also known as tooth decay. Since 1945, people in the US have used fluoride to prevent dental caries.
In the beginning, people prevented dental caries through fluoride present in the water in the US and Canada. The success of this process eventually led to the development of toothpaste and other products that contain the element. These products include mouthwash and other dietary supplements.
Compared to the earlier times, US residents have access to different sources of fluoride. Because of this, studies have observed that people with dental caries have declined in the country.
Though brushing teeth is very important in oral care, it is not enough. A tooth has five surfaces; a toothbrush can only reach two of these surfaces. These two surfaces are adjacent next to other teeth, in between the gaps of the teeth. When food enters these gaps and brushing does not remove them, tooth decay may happen.
Therefore, flossing is an essential step that one should follow after brushing the teeth. It serves as the tool to get into the gaps between teeth and removes food that may cause plaque buildup, tooth decay, and even gum disease. Gum disease happens when the gum becomes irritated because of the increase in bacteria inside the teeth and the mouth.
Having a healthy diet
The University of Rochester Medical Center shares the best and worst kinds of food for dental health.
For instance, fruits and vegetables rich in fiber help in keeping the gums and teeth clean. Moreover, they get the saliva flowing that is important in reducing the harmful impact of acid and enzymes on the teeth. Saliva also has calcium and phosphate that keep the teeth healthy.
Dairy products like cheese, milk, and yogurt help maintain oral health. These products help strengthen and rebuild tooth enamel. Cheese helps produce saliva, too.
You may be surprised, but tea can be good for your oral health as well. Both green and black teas have polyphenols that kill harmful bacteria. Additionally, some tea may contain fluoride as well; as we have established, fluoride is essential for oral health.
Meanwhile, avoid sticky candies and sweets, starchy food, and carbonated soft drinks. If you consume any of these products, it is best to wash them off or brush your teeth immediately so that they don’t stick to the tooth. Referring to what has been discussed above, food stuck on the tooth is a cause of tooth decay, gum disease, and other oral diseases.
For a Healthy You
One should not need reminding of how to take care and why to take care of oral health. It is an essential aspect of life, and doing the proper practices to maintain oral health is a way to take care of oneself.