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Your teeth are an essential part of your body. Neglect of your teeth reflects on your general health. Take good care of your teeth and they will take good care of you. Dental carries is the most common disease of the oral cavity affecting all the age groups of human beings, followed closely by the diseases of the gums.

Plaque is the biggest villain behind both tooth decay and gum diseases. Plaque is a sticky, almost invisible, whitish yellow, thin film of bacteria that constantly forms on your teeth. If proper oral hygiene is not maintained by regular brushing then this plaque combines with sucrose (sugar) present in the food particles you eat to produce acids that cause demineralization of enamel (outermost layer of tooth). Repeated attacks by the bacteria (Streptococcus mutans, Lactobacillus, etc) results in a cavity. Our body cannot replace tooth enamel once it has been formed. Hence the decay spreads deeper into the tooth resulting in complete destruction of the dental tissues, ultimately causing severe toothache.

Regular brushing after every meal or at least twice daily (every morning and night) will help to keep your teeth free from plaque and tooth decay (cavities). Should there be any sign of tooth decay your dentist will be able to fill the cavity with an appropriate filling material in the initial stages before gross destruction of tooth material has occurred. You should visit your dentist preferably every six months or at least once a year. During such check-ups your dentist will be able to correct any small problems, before they have a chance to develop into something serious.


The correct Brushing Technique

Prevention is better than cure. Brush after every meal or at least twice daily. Use a good toothpaste containing calcium or fluoride, and a toothbrush with soft or medium bristles, on an optimal sized brush head.
brushing_flossing             brushing_flossing            brushing_flossing

Hold the toothbrush at 450 angle to the gum line, gently jiggle it, and sweep the bristles over the teeth. Downwards form the gums for the upper teeth and upwards form the gums for the lower teeth. Repeat this action for each tooth. Brush the insides of the teeth with the same up and down sweeping movements. For the chewing surfaces use a light back and forth motion.
brushing_flossing               brushing_flossing

brushing_flossing Dental Floss is a piece of braided nylon cord which could be waxed or non-waxed. Take about 18 inch of floss and wrap most of it around the middle finger of one hand and the rest around the middle finger of the other hand, leaving a 2 inch length between them. It is then gently eased between the teeth with the aid of the forefinger and the thumb. The floss is pulled in & out, and up & down around the teeth. Plaque and food debris in between the teeth are thus removed. Care of course should be taken that the gums are not injured. Now flossing has become as simple as tooth brushing because of the availability of floss holders. brushing_flossing

Finally massage your gums with your fingers and gently brush your tongue. Do not use metal tongue cleaners as they cause damage to the taste buds on the tongue. A mouthwash may be used as a mouth freshener. Do not expect the mouthwash to remove plaque from your teeth. It can only temporarily freshen your breath.

Halitosis or bad breath ranks among the highest cause of social embarrassment. It can prove to be a serious handicap in your personal and professional life. Bad breath usually results from poor oral hygiene. They are caused by anaerobic sulphur producing bacteria. They can also be caused due to some systemic diseases like gastric disorders, diabetes, etc.


Six Golden Rules for healthy teeth

  1. Eat a balanced diet of vegetables, cereals, fruits, and salads. Eat foods that have vitamins, minerals, calcium, phosphorous and fluoride. Expectant mothers must be particularly careful about their diet as the foundation of a child's teeth occurs by 6th week intrauterine. Calcification of milk teeth starts by the 6th month (second trimester). Osteocalcium tablets maybe used to supplement your diet.
  2. Do not give into the temptation of frequent snacking. Avoid sweets and sticky foods between meals. Bacteria's love sugar. Eat sweets only at the end of the meal, so that the teeth get cleaned when you brush your teeth after meals.
  3. Brush your teeth after every meal. Do not use toothpicks; instead use your brush or floss to remove any food stuck between your teeth.
  4. Brush at least twice daily with a good toothbrush and toothpaste. Use the correct brushing technique. Change your brush when the bristles lose their shape, usually every 3-4 months. Brush your tongue. Floss your teeth. Massage your gums with your fingers. Use a mouthwash as a mouth refresher only.
  5. Avoid smoking, alcohol, pan chewing, tobacco chewing or gutka. Not only do they result in bad breath they produce Oral Cancer. Oral Cancer in India ranks the highest among all cancers.
  6. 6. Visit your dentist regularly preferably every six months or at least once a year. During such check-ups your dentist will be able to correct any small problems, before they have a chance to develop into something serious. Get a professional cleaning of your teeth every year.


Some tips to help your child develop good dental hygiene

* My Homepage * Know your teeth * Know your Gums (Gingiva) * Eruption Dates * Six Golden Rules * Brushing\Flossing Technique * Wisdom tooth * Tooth Decay * Extraction * Dental Implant * Surgical Extraction * Orthognathic Surgery * Asymmetry of the face * Gummy Smile * Prognathism{Long Jaw} * Beggs\Straight wire{Orthodontia} * Bleaching{Tooth Whitening} * Habit Breaking * Interceptive Orthodontics * Discolouration\Veneers * Composite\Amalgam Fillings * Root Canal Treatment{RCT} * Crown{Porcelain\Castmetal} * Flap Surgery/Splinting * Bridges{Porcelain\Castmetal} * TMJ (Joint) Disorders * Bell's Palsy {Facial Paralysis} * Ankylosis{Difficulty in mouth opening} * Cleft Lip and Palate * Trigeminal Neuralgia * In a Lighter vein

This site is produced, designed and maintained by
Dr Antony George, Trichur Institute of Head And Neck Surgery (TIHANS),
Shornur Road,Trichur,Kerala-680001,India.
Ph: 0091-0487-335145, 335185
email me
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copyright ŠAug 2000. No part of this website may be transmitted or reproduced in anyway. Every effort has been made to supply correct and accurate information, but I assume no responsibility for its use.

updated Aug2002.