10 common queries on oral hygiene answered

Here are some common queries people often ask regarding oral hygiene.

Oral hygiene'Because some tortures are physical and some are mental, But the one that is both is dental.', wrote Ogden Nash, an American poet. A lot of people ignore dental health, thinking it's not that important until they find themselves in pain. Little do they realize that if they had paid heed to their mouth and teeth, it would never come to that!

So, if you are suffering from any dental problem or don't want to suffer from it in the future, here are some answers to questions which might lead you on the road to good oral health and hygiene:

I have stains on my teeth. How can I get rid of them?

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Having stains on teeth can be a huge turnoff, and it's a good thing you are trying to get rid of them. Stained teeth can have several causes like poor oral hygiene, consumption of tobacco and eating foods that cause yellow teeth. So, it is important to change your habits in order to have a good smile.

Certain things that one can do for whiter teeth are to eat dairy foods like yoghurt and cheese, crunchy fruits and vegetables, etc. Even switching to an electronic toothbrush can help improve your oral hygiene as well as give you whiter teeth.

What is the right technique to brush my teeth?

Everyone brushes their teeth, but brushing with the right technique is something not everyone is aware of. To brush right, you must divide your mouth into four quadrants and spend at least 30 seconds on each quadrant. Also, it is important that you rinse your mouth properly with water after you are done brushing.

Also, it is important that you brush twice a day- since most toothpastes can fight germs for upto 12 hours.

I am suffering from bad breath. How can I fight it?

Bad breath isn't just bad for you, it makes life difficult for people around you as well. While there are many ways to fight bad breath, it is important to know what causes it and take necessary precautions for the same. Foods like onion or garlic are notoriously known for causing bad breath. Other items that can be responsible for it are coffee, alcohol and cigarettes. (Read: 10 reasons for bad breath you didn't know about)

There are many things you can do to keep bad breath at bay.Eating a healthy balanced diet, staying hydrated, washing your mouth at regular intervals, brushing right and giving up on smoking can help. Even something like chewing a gum after your meals for 20 minutes can stimulate your saliva that washes away food particles and freshen up your breath.

I experience toothache and it's really painful. What to do?

9 out of 10 people who suffer from toothache would blame it on tooth decay or dental cavities. However, there can be other causes too like accidents or falls, misaligned or impacted wisdom teeth, gum disease, etc.

If your tooth is hurting, it is recommended that you visit a dentist who will relieve your pain with proper treatment. Also, you should make it a point to maintain proper oral hygiene in order to prevent toothache in the future. (Read: Top 10 causes of toothache)

How often should I replace my toothbrush?

Replace your toothbrush when the bristles start splaying or bending, or every three months, whichever comes first.Doing this will ensure the quality of the bristles and their effectiveness of removing plaque from your teeth. It is also very important to change toothbrushes after you've had a cold or any contagious disease, since the bristles can collect germs that can lead to reinfection. Store your toothbrush in a place where it will dry quickly. Don't store it in a toothbrush box, or in water after you have finished brushing. This will help it last longer.

Choosing the right toothbrush is the first step to oral care. Everyone knows brushing is important but still many people have poor oral hygiene because they choose the wrong toothbrush. (Read: Choosing a toothbrush)

Is mouthwash really necessary?

It is really necessary for good oral hygiene, since a toothbrush cannot reach certain parts of your mouth where a mouthwash can. A US research has suggested that mouthwash can beat a toothbrush in terms of clearing plaque. Also, it can really help with bad breath as it keeps your breath fresh for as long as 30 minutes after you've rinsed your mouth with it. (Read: Why you need mouthwash?)

Why is smoking bad for my teeth?

We all know that tobacco is hazardous to health. Well, it can be distressing to your smile too. Smoking or chewing tobacco can leave extrinsic stains on the enamel of the teeth. Tobacco contains many hard-to-remove staining elements that cause a gradual yellowing of teeth and mar the appearance of your teeth.

Along with that, it can also give you bad breath making you smell like an ash-tray.

I am suffering from dry mouth. What could be the reason?

Dry mouth is not a disease, it's a symptom of other diseases like diabetes, hypertension, Parkinson's, etc. Apart from being uncomfortable, a dry mouth canincrease your risk for dental decay and fungal infections of the mouth. It can also make chewing and swallowing difficult.

What toothpaste should I use?

While it is important to brush well regardless of whatever toothpaste you use, choose your toothpaste according to your requirements. For eg. If you have sensitive teeth, use a toothpaste that fights sensitivity. If you want to get rid of bad breath, use a toothpaste with ingredients like mint which could help you that. Similarly, toothpastes are available for gum problems and whiter teeth.

How many times should I brush?

While it is ideal to brush thrice a day, brushing twice everyday for 2 minutes can be sufficient to prevent germ build up and maintain good oral hygiene.

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