Oral hygiene is the practice of keeping one’s mouth clean and free of disease and other problems (e.g. bad breath) by regular brushing of the teeth (dental hygiene) and cleaning between the teeth. It is important that oral hygiene be carried out on a regular basis to enable prevention of dental disease and bad breath. The most common types of dental disease are tooth decay (cavities, dental caries) and gum diseases, including gingivitis, and periodontitis.
General guidelines suggest brushing twice a day: after breakfast and before going to bed, but ideally the mouth would be cleaned after every meal. Cleaning between the teeth is called interdental cleaning and is as important as tooth brushing. This is because a toothbrush cannot reach between the teeth and therefore only removes about 50% of plaque off the surface. There are many tools to clean between the teeth, including floss and interdental brushes; it is up to each individual to choose which tool he or she prefers to use.
Sometimes white or straight teeth are associated with oral hygiene, but a hygienic mouth may have stained teeth and/or crooked teeth. For appearance reasons, people may seek out teeth whitening and orthodontics.
Your gums are like cushions for your teeth: they surround the teeth in the jaws and help to support them. Looking after your gums is just as important as looking after your teeth. Red and swollen gums that bleed when you brush them could be a sign of gum disease, also known as gingivitis.
When gingivitis is left untreated it can develop further into a type of infection known as periodontitis, which affects the entire area surrounding the tooth. A result of this could be losing your tooth so it’s vital to avoid.
To keep your mouth in tip-top shape we recommend you come in for regular hygiene appointments and dental check-ups.