- Non Surgical
Oral hygiene is the practice of
keeping the mouth clean in order to prevent cavities (dental caries),
gingivitis, periodontitis, bad breath (halitosis), and other dental
Oral hygiene consists of both
personal and professional care. Dental X-rays (radiographs) may
be performed as part of routine professional examinations.
Careful and frequent brushing
with a toothbrush and the use of dental floss help to prevent
build-up of plaque bacteria on the teeth. These bacteria metabolize
carbohydrates in our meals or snacks and excrete acid which demineralizes
tooth enamel, eventually leading to tooth decay and toothache
if acid episodes are frequent or are not prevented. Calculus (dental)
or tartar buildup on teeth usually opposite salivary ducts is
because of calcium deposits in resident plaque. Frequent brushing
and swishing saliva around helps prevent these deposits. Cavities
can be costly, in terms of the monetary cost to drill out the
cavities and insert dental fillings, and in terms of the tissue
Almost all cavities occur where
food is trapped between teeth and inside deep pits and fissures
in grooves on chewing surfaces where the brush, toothpaste, mouthwash,
saliva and chewing gum, cannot reach.
Special appliances or tools may
be recommended to supplement (but not to replace) toothbrushing
and flossing. These include special toothpicks, oral irrigators,
or other devices. Initially electric toothbrushes were only recommended
for persons who have problems with strength or dexterity of their
hands, but many dentists are now recommending them to many other
patients in order to improve their home dental care. In many parts
of the world natural toothbrushes are used. In the Muslim world
the miswak or siwak is made from twigs or roots that are alleged
to have an antiseptic effect when applied as a toothbrush.
drink in relation to oral hygiene
Foods that help muscles and bones
also help teeth and gums. Dairy contributes vitamin D, strengthening
teeth. Breads and cereals are rich in vitamin B while fruits and
vegetables contain vitamin C, both of which contribute to healthy
gum tissue. Lean meat, fish, and poultry provide magnesium and
zinc for teeth. Some people recommend that teeth be brushed after
every meal and at bedtime, and flossed at least once per day,
preferably at night before sleep. For some people, flossing might
be recommended after every meal.
Some foods may protect against
cavities. Milk and cheese appear to be able to raise pH values
in the mouth, and so reduce tooth exposure to acid. They are also
rich in calcium and phosphate, and may also encourage remineralisation.
All foods increase saliva production, and since saliva contains
buffer chemicals this helps to stabilise the pH at just above
7 in the mouth. Foods high in fiber may also help to increase
the flow of saliva. Unsweetened (basically sugar free) chewing
gum stimulates saliva production, and helps to clean the surface
of the tooth.
Sugars are commonly associated
with dental cavities. Other carbohydrates, especially cooked starches,
e.g. crisps/potato chips, may also damage teeth, although to a
much lesser degree. This is because starch is not an ideal food
for the bacteria. It has to be converted by enzymes in saliva
Sucrose (table sugar) is most
commonly associated with cavities, although glucose and maltose
seem equally as likely to cause cavities. The amount of sugar
consumed at any one time is less important than how often food
and drinks that contain sugar are consumed. The
more frequently sugars are consumed, the greater the time during
which the tooth is exposed to low pH levels, at which point demineralisation
occurs. It is important therefore to try to encourage infrequent
consumption of food and drinks containing sugar so that teeth
have a chance to repair themselves. Obviously, limiting sugar-containing
foods and drinks to meal times is one way to reduce the incidence
Artificially refined sugar is
not the only type that can promote dental cavities. There are
also sugars found in fresh fruit and fruit juices. These foods
(oranges, lemons, limes, apples, etc.) also contain acids which
lower the pH level. On the other hand, carbonic acid found in
soda water is very weakly acidic (pH 6.1), and not associated
with dental cavities(provided the soft drink is sugar free, of
course). That said, soft drinks are not as healthy for the teeth
as milk, because of their lower pH and lack of calcium. Drinking
sugared soft drinks throughout the day raises the risk of dental
Another factor which affects the
risk of developing cavities is the stickiness of foods. Some foods
or sweets may stick to the teeth and so reduce the pH in the mouth
for an extended time, particularly if they are sugary. It is important
that teeth be cleaned at least twice a day, preferably with a
toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste, to remove any food sticking
to the teeth. Regular brushing and the use of dental floss also
removes the dental plaque coating the tooth surface.
Chewing gum assists oral irrigation
between and around the teeth, cleaning and removing particles,
but for teeth in poor condition it may damage or remove loose
fillings as well.
Smoking and chewing tobacco are both linked with multiple dental
hazards. Regular vomiting, as seen in those who practice bulimia,
also causes significant damage.
Retainers- can be cleaned in mouthwash
or denture cleaning fluid. Fluoride-containing, or anti-plaque
(tartar control) toothpastes or mouthwashes may be recommended
by the dentist or dental hygienist. Dental braces may be recommended
by a dentist for best oral hygiene and health. Dentures, retainers,
and other appliances must be kept extremely clean. This includes
regular brushing and may include soaking them in a cleansing solution.
Dental hygienist polishing a patient's
Regular tooth cleaning by the
dental hygienist is recommended to remove tartar (mineralized
plaque) that may develop even with careful brushing and flossing,
especially in areas that are difficult for a patient to reach
on his own at home. Professional cleaning includes tooth scaling
and tooth polishing and debridement if too much tartar has accumulated.
This involves the use of various instruments or devices to loosen
and remove deposits from the teeth.
Most dental hygienists recommend having the teeth professionally
cleaned at least every six months.
More frequent cleaning and examination
may be necessary during the treatment of many of the dental/oral
disorders. Routine examination of the teeth is recommended at
least every year. This may include yearly, select dental X-rays.
See also dental plaque identification procedure and removal.
However, in between cleanings by a dental hygienist, everyone
must have good oral hygiene to support the professional care.
Usually there are no complications to the upkeep of oral hygiene;
however, overly vigorous or incorrectly performed brushing or
flossing may result in injury to the gingiva (gums). Some results
of improper or over vigorous brushing may include: worn-out bristles,
unusually sore gums, damage to enamel of teeth, gingivitis and
One should always call the dentist or dental hygienist if instructions
or demonstration of proper care.