The main purpose of dental hygiene is to prevent the build-up of plaque, the sticky film of bacteria that forms on the teeth. Bacterial plaque accumulated on teeth because of poor oral hygiene which is the causative factor of the major dental problems.
Poor oral hygiene allows the accumulation of acid producing bacteria on the surface of the teeth. The acid demineralises the tooth enamel causing tooth decay (cavities).
Dental plaque can also invade and infect the gums causing gum disease and periodontitis.
In both conditions, the final effect of poor oral hygiene is the loss of one or more teeth. One should not wait until a tooth is lost, just then to understand the importance of oral hygiene and preventive care.
Many health problems of the mouth, such as oral thrush, trench mouth, bad breath and others are considered as effect of poor dental hygiene. Most of these dental and mouth problems may be avoided just by maintaining good oral hygiene.
Prevention is always better than treatment. Good oral hygiene habits will keep away most of the dental problems saving you from toothaches and costly dental treatments.
Doctor Martin Kwizera, a general practitioner at Central Teaching Hospital of Kigali (CHUK) says that the interesting part is that it can be achieved by dedicating only some minutes every day to dental hygiene care.
A large number of various oral hygiene products, beyond the usual toothpaste and toothbrush, are available in the market to help you in this effort.
He adds that unfortunately, most of us remember the importance of oral hygiene only when a problem occurs.
Research has shown that while patient activation can show an immediate improvement in oral hygiene habits, only a small percentage keeps the same standards six months later. Maintaining good dental hygiene should be a lifelong everyday habit.
He points out that awareness regarding the importance of oral hygiene has significantly increased in the developed countries, but contrary to that, the modern dietary lifestyle habits are posing a greater risk for oral health.
Healthy teeth not only enable you to look and feel good, they make it possible to eat and speak properly. Good oral health is important to the person’s overall well being.
Daily preventive oral care, with proper brushing and flossing, always help stop dental problems before they develop and are much less painful, expensive, and worrisome than treating conditions that have been allowed to progress.
It is important to learn how to maintain good dental hygiene from early childhood. Parents should teach their children the proper use of oral hygiene products. Good oral hygiene should be a joined effort involving a person and a dentist.
People should always consult with dentist how to maintain good oral hygiene. The dentist or dental hygienist will give you the proper dental hygiene instructions and teach you the correct way of brushing and flossing.
The dentist will identify your individual needs and help you build your own oral care plan.
Doctor Martin further reveals that Pain is usually not a symptom, which partly explains why the periodontal disease may become advanced before it is diagnosed.
Many people tend to ignore the most common symptoms such as bleeding gums and receding gums, considering them as normal.
In between regular visits to the dentist, there are simple steps that each of us can take to greatly decrease the risk of developing tooth decay, gum disease and other dental problems.
These can include; brush the teeth at least twice a day or after every meal, with fluoride toothpaste, Floss your teeth at least once a day, Watch your diet and avoid sugar and limit snacks between meals.