Oral Health Tips

By Dr Ellane Simon 

Zimbabwe Online Health Centre 

Best practices that keep teeth and gum healthy:

1. *Brush regularly but not aggressively.* Brush teeth at least twice a day in small circular motions for about 2 to 3minutes. Prevent back and fourth motions. Use soft bristles toothbrush and change your toothbrush every 3months or whenever ends look frayed whichever comes first. 

2. *Use fluoride.*Its a mineral found in toothpaste that prevents cavities. Lack of fluoride causes tooth decay. 

3. *Floss once a day.* Flossing removes plaque and bacteria from between the teeth where the toothbrush is unable to reach. It can also prevent bad breathe. 

4. *See a dentist regularly.* One should visit the dentist at least twice a year (every 6months) or if there are any changes in the mouth. A dental visit might also depend on health history, age and overall dental health.

5. *Do not smoke.* Smoking harm the body's immune system making it difficult for the body to heal tissues. Smoking itself is a risk factor for gum disease and also cause bad breathe and yellowish teeth.

6. *Consider a mouthwash.* Get advise from a dentist on which mouthwash to use. However chlorhexidine containing mouthwash are advised as it has antibacterial effects. 

7. *Limit sugary foods and starches.* These promote bacterial growth causing cavities. Fibre rich fruits and vegetables are advised. 

8. *Drink water instead of sugary drinks.* Like sugary food they also promote bacterial growth that causes cavities. 

Tips for kids

1. Babies and toddlers should not go to bed with bottles and sippy cups. 

2. Brush baby teeth as soon as they come out with soft baby toothbrush and tiny amounts of fluoride. 

- Baby teeth (primary teeth) are important as permanent teeth. Tooth decay disrupt space in the mouth of babies and toddlers making it difficult for the adult teeth to develop correctly.

 Zimbabwe Online Health Centre

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