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World Oral Health Day 2018: 10 Everyday Must Do's For Oral Hygiene

On World Oral Health Day, Dr Saryu Khanna presents you 10 habits that are extremely important to maintain your oral hygiene.

World Oral Health Day 2018: 10 Everyday Must Dos For Oral Hygiene

World Oral Health Day is celebrated on March 20


  1. Oral hygiene is an important of our health
  2. Cleaning your tongue is important for good dental health
  3. Proper flossing helps in removing plaque and food particles from teeth

March 20 is observed as World Oral Health Day. Mouth is a gateway to oral health. It is rightly said that mouth is gatekeeper between the outside world and rest of our body. A healthy mouth leads to a healthy body, which enables us to display our most priced feature - our smile - with confidence. Poor oral hygiene plays a significant role in certain systemic problems and makes an individual more prone to cardiovascular diseases like diabetes, alzeimers and low birth weight babies. So as part of World Oral Health Day and to stay ahead of the game, here are a few everyday must do's for better oral hygiene.

1. Brushing

Brushing right is completed in following 3 steps: choosing the right toothbrush, the right toothpaste and the amount of toothpaste.

Choosing the right tooth brush

Choosing the right brush is the most important step in maintaining hygiene. Market nowadays is flooded with toothbrushes and every brand is trying to incorporate the fanciest features. But one must be careful as there is difference in head size of an adult toothbrush and a child toothbrush. A child should not be given an adult tooth brush due to anatomical difference in deciduous (milk teeth) and permanent teeth.

brushing teeth genericPhoto Credit: iStock

Adult tooth brushes can be classified as manual brushes and automatic brushes. Automatic brushes work well when you use them with adequate pressure and strokes. One can easily use automatic brushes as they are hassle free and provides proper cleaning. Automatic toothbrushes are actually a boon for people with special needs or those with limited manual dexterity.

Manual brushes used with proper techniques work as good as automatic brushes. Ideally one should focus on soft bristled toothbrush with a flexible neck so as to reach inaccessible areas and clean them.

Choosing the right toothpaste

1. Using the right toothpaste properly can easily provide the much needed help required in maintaining oral hygiene.

2. Anti-sentivity toothpastes help in reducing the painful sensitivity that people experience when eating something cold, hot, acidic or sweet.

3. Teeth whitening toothpastes should be used under the supervision of a dentist and should be combined with fluoridated toothpaste if sensitivity develops.

One doesn't need anti-sensitivity toothpaste if their teeth aren't sensitive. Every individual has a different set of teeth and people should choose toothpaste as per their individual needs.

fluoride in toothpaste can cause bone cancer

The amount of toothpaste

The amount of toothpaste that children should use should be pea-sized. They should be encouraged to not to swallow the excess. This is because the action of fluoride is topical and should not be given before teeth have erupted.

Correct technique -'don't rush when you brush'

1. Brushing should be done twice daily for two minutes by keeping toothbrush at a 45-degree angle to the gums and gently moving the brush back and forth in short (tooth-wide) circular strokes.

2. Brush the outer surfaces, the inner surfaces, and the chewing surfaces of the teeth.

3. To clean the inside surfaces of the front teeth, tilt the brush vertically and make several up-and-down strokes.

4. Replace your toothbrush in every three or four months or sooner if the bristles are frayed. A worn toothbrush won't do a good job of cleaning your teeth.

5. Store toothbrush uncovered in an upright position if possible, and allow the toothbrush to air-dry until used again.

Tongue cleaning

Cleaning your tongue is important for good dental health for the following reasons:

1. It controls unwanted bacteria that can contribute to tooth decay.

2. It fights bad breath.

3. Improves your sense of taste.

4. You get a better aesthetic when smiling or laughing.

5. Tongue scrapers or tongue brushes work equally well in removing bacteria from tongue.


bad breath

2. Flossing

If there's something stuck between your teeth that you want to remove immediately, stick to using tools designed for cleaning between teeth like string floss, tiny brushes that reach between the teeth and water flossers.


Proper flossing removes plaque and food particles in places where a toothbrush cannot easily reach - under the gumline and between your teeth. Since plaque build-up can lead to tooth decay and gum diseases, daily flossing is a must.

3. Water picks

A water pick (oral irrigator) is a device that aims a stream of water at your teeth. A water pick can help remove food particles from your teeth and might help reduce bleeding and gum disease. It proves to be a boon for clean interdental area if you have orthodontic braces, implants or brides. Ask your dentist about water pick the next time you visit him/her.

4. Mouthwashes

Mouthwash offers the benefit of reaching areas not easily accessed by a toothbrush. There are two types of mouthwash: cosmetic and therapeutic. Cosmetic mouthwash may temporarily control bad breath and leave behind a pleasant taste. To avoid bad breath, avoid alcohol-based mouthwashes.

Therapeutic mouthwash contains active ingredients intended to help control or reduce conditions like bad breath, gingivitis, plaque, and tooth decay.


5. Eating for healthy smile

Eat right for a healthy smile. Calcium-rich dairy products like cheese and yogurt are good for dental health. One should incorporate green leafy vegetables like apples, celery and almonds to have sparkling teeth.


6. Avoid foods bad for dental health

Avoid hard sugar candies and biting on ice as they can trigger a dental emergency such as a broken or a chipped tooth. Avoid coffee and citrus drinks and replace them with plain water.

candy genericPhoto Credit: iStock

7. Rinsing

Try and incorporate the habit of rinsing mouth with water every time you eat sticky foods. Do warm water salt rinses as it has no side effects.

8. Smile

It is one priced possession and costs nothing so keep smiling.


9. Don't stress

Stress may make you clench and grind your teeth. This can happen during the day or at night, and often without your realising it. If you already clench and grind your teeth, stress could make the habit worse. Medically, it is referred to as bruxism and may have serious side effects.
exam stress

10. Regular dental check-ups

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Don't forget to get a dental check-up done every 6 months, early diagnosis leads to early treatments. Remember dental treatment is not expensive but neglect is. 

(Dr Saryu Khanna is B.D.S, Single Visit Root Canal Specialist and Certified Implantologist based in Delhi)

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