Keeping clean mouth, teeth
By Kemi Olatunde
In this part of the world, it has been observed that a lot of people give little or no attention to their teeth. Maintaining a good oral hygiene goes beyond the regular 30 seconds to one minute brushing of teeth which is mostly done in the morning. Most people under the age of 40 have never paid a visit to the Dentist because they feel “I don’t have any tooth issue.”
This mentality is wrong. The teeth deserve attention too just like we give other parts of the body. When the mouth is well taken care of, it reflects on the total wellbeing of the body.
Maintaining good oral and dental hygien should be the business of everybody as majority of health issues actually started from the mouth as gathered by Living Healthy.
Taking good care of your mouth, teeth and gums is a worthy goal in and of itself. Good oral and dental hygiene can help prevent bad breath, tooth decay and gum disease and can help you keep your teeth as you get older.
According to Ondo State chairman, Nigerian Dental Association, Dr. Bobola Babatola, there is the need for proper care of the mouth so as to be free from infection or other forms of diseased condition. The mouth as explained has been created to be a place for the habitation of micro-organisms, bacteria and all sorts of germs, hence the need not just to keep the mouth free from infection but ensuring that there is no disease inside the mouth.
In order to maintain good oral and dental hygiene, Babatola stressed the importance of embracing fibre fruits, regular cleaning of the mouth and a visit to the dentist at least once in six months or a year.
According to him, regular cleaning of the mouth is crucial. It is important that one brushes after every meal but this isn’t feasible and for convenience, it is advised that we brush twice daily that is after breakfast and before we retire to bed. It is also important that the toothpaste to be used should be one with fluoride so as to strengthen the structure of the teeth against decay. Also, we should avoid toothbrush that can cause damage to the teeth.
The method of brushing should be one that ensures that all the surfaces of each of the tooth are well covered that is every tooth brushing method should be a movement away from the gum so as to avoid gum recession.
If you don’t brush and floss regularly to keep your teeth clean, plaque can build up along your gumline, creating an environment for additional bacteria to accumulate in the space between your gums and your teeth. This gum infection is known as gingivitis. Left unchecked, gingivitis can lead to a more serious gum infection called periodontitis. The most severe form of gum infection is called acute necrotizing ulcerative gingivitis, also known as trench mouth.
Bacteria from your mouth normally don’t enter your bloodstream. However, invasive dental treatments — sometimes even just routine brushing and flossing if you have gum disease — can provide a port of entry for these microbes. Medications or treatments that reduce saliva flow and antibiotics that disrupt the normal balance of bacteria in your mouth can also compromise your mouth’s normal defences, allowing these bacteria to enter your bloodstream.
If you have a healthy immune system, the presence of oral bacteria in your bloodstream causes no problems.
Long-term gum infection can eventually result in the loss of your teeth. But the consequences may not end there. Recent research suggests that there may be an association between oral infections — primarily gum infections—and poorly controlled diabetes, cardiovascular disease and preterm birth. A Chief Dental Officer, Dr Akindele Olaniyi while speaking during the 2019 edition of the World Oral Health Day at the Dental Centre headquarter in Akure recently noted that a lot of things that go wrong with the body can be detected through the mouth and added that dental problem should be treated from pregnancy to adulthood.
Speaking on the theme; “say ah act for mouth health”, he stressed the need for people to carry out things on their own saying ” dental care requires self care.”
Cautioning people against the believe that dental problem is an ageing problem, he said “most people don’t brush their teeth regularly and appropriately. Brushing of teeth should be done twice a day that is morning and evening and also they should visit the dentist once or twice a year for early detention and prevention of diseases like diabetes, hypertension, HIV etc.”
Chief Dental Surgeon, UNIMED Teaching Hospital, Dr. Mrs Folasade Akinwande while speaking with Living Healthy described the mouth as the gateway through which food and nutrition get into the body saying, “what you take into the mouth determines your health status.”
However, she stressed the need for people to make dentists their friend and added that children should also be exposed to dentist’s activities.
She said: “as soon as children start erupting their first teeth, they should be introduced to the dentist. Some people believe that they shouldn’t wash their mouth which is not so.
” Once dental care is part of the system of a child, he goes after it and saves them from a lot of pain and embarrassment. “
To protect your oral health, practice good oral hygiene every day.
Brush your teeth at least twice a day with fluoride toothpaste.
Eat a healthy diet and limit between-meal snacks.
Replace your toothbrush every three to four months or sooner if bristles are frayed.
Schedule regular dental checkups and cleanings.
Avoid tobacco use.
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