A beautiful smile is a great asset. That’s why it’s crucial to take care of your pearly whites now – or you may not have them later! Use these strategies to keep your mouth clean, fresh and in the pink.
1) Say Ahhhh
Check your mouth every few months. Some changes in the mouth indicate oral diseases and, in rare cases, cancer. So, watch out for a persistent sore, red or white patches, a lump in the mouth or jawbone, difficulties moving your tongue or swallowing, and numbness in the mouth or lips.
All you need are a good torch (which someone can hold for you), a wall mirror and a dental mirror available at pharmacies. Start with the outer and inner lips, then the top, sides and bottom of the tongue. Pull out your cheeks and examine both sides. If there’s something that doesn’t go away after 10 days, see your dentist.
2) Banish Bad Breath
Bad breath occurs when bacteria around the teeth, on the tongue, and in the gastrointestinal system produce a range of pungent chemicals – from a mild malodour which results from not brushing properly the night before, to full-blown halitosis which can become a social handicap. To check if your breath is up to scratch, use a cotton ball to swipe the back of your tongue. It if smells bad, it’s time to take action.
Proper brushing and tongue cleaning with a scraper or brush are vital for good oral hygiene. Oral rinses help only when brushing is done properly.
3) Soothe Ulcers
Oral ulcers usually develop after you’ve accidentally bitten into your lip or inner cheek and heal within a week. Apthous ulcers or canker sores caused by stress, viruses, diet or hormonal changes take up to two weeks. But if an ulcer persists for over a month, is solitary, 1 cm or larger, and has hard, rolled up margins, see a dental surgeon or doctor.
4) Brush Right
Brushing properly twice a day is better than doing it poorly four or five times a day. Place a soft-bristled toothbrush at a 45-degree angle to the teeth and gums. Gently move the brush back and forth several times using circular strokes. Start from the outside surfaces of your teeth, from the front to the back. Proceed to the inside and then the biting surfaces. Brushing should take about three minutes.
5) Remember The F Word
Flossing removes food debris lodged in the small gaps between teeth that brushing can’t reach. Floss at least once a day after your last meal. If food stays lodged in the gums, bacteria will feed off it and you’ll have decaying teeth and potential jawbone loss. Experts believe bacteria from gum infections enter the bloodstream and cause white blood cells (which fight infections) to create a build-up of fatty deposits and clots in the arteries.