This is an article overview. Please click on the links in the text
to learn more about the different methods of mouth hygiene!
Many people think mouth hygiene is just about brushing your teeth regularly. However, decent mouth hygiene is about a lot more than only brushing your teeth. The reason why we should apply mouth hygiene regularly is the prevention of oral health issues and bad breath.
Dental caries, gum inflammation (gingivitis), and periodontal disease are all oral health issues. Oral health issues always arise from bacterial infections within your mouth. To prevent these bacterial infections that cause oral health issues within your mouth, you need good mouth hygiene.
A mouth hygiene that is able to clean your teeth, gums and mouth properly must involve cleaning your teeth and gums mechanically and can include the use of mouthwash.
Mechanical cleaning not only means to only brush your teeth and gums with a toothbrush, but also the use of dental floss, interdental brushes, and dental sticks (see below). One thing is for sure: You should brush your teeth twice a day!
For cleaning your mouth from excessive bacterial overgrowth, and to further reduce dental caries and gum inflammation, you may use a tongue scraper and mouthwash (see below).
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Cleaning your teeth – Mechanical cleaning
For a proper mechanical cleaning of your teeth, gums and mouth you should use a toothbrush, toothpaste or tooth powder, and the little mechanical helpers (interdental aids), like dental floss, interdental brushes, and dental sticks.
Tooth brushing is the most important method for mechanically cleaning your teeth. But only brushing your teeth is not enough to fight dental plaque that is causing dental caries, gum inflammation (gingivitis), and periodontal disease. Therefore you need interdental aids like dental floss, interdental brushes, and dental sticks.
Read more about tooth brushing here
It is important to use toothpaste or tooth powder for brushing your teeth. The reason is that toothpaste helps to mechanically clean your teeth and usually contains fluoride that helps preventing caries.
Read more about toothpaste here
Besides brushing your teeth, the use of dental floss is the most important tool for you to fight dental plaque. I use dental floss occasionally. That means when I feel it´s time for it. Also, I really enjoy getting rid of food residues, especially after having eaten meat or mango (They can be so fibrous, especially if you eat the mango meat around the stone!).
Read more about dental floss and flossing here
Interdental brushes are great tools to clean the interdental space between your teeth down on the gumline. Using interdental brushes in combination with toothbrushing and dental flossing can reduce the formation of plaque and in turn gingivitis and dental caries.
The use of interdental brushes can give you a completely new sensation of what it means to have a clean mouth. I tend to use them once or twice a week.
Read more about interdental brushes and how to use them here
Dental sticks – Miswak
There is a very old and effective way of cleaning your teeth: dental sticks from a tree called miswak. Miswak dental sticks are used since thousands of years, are natural, and have antibacterial properties. They are natural toothbrushes. Usually the roots of the Salvadora persica tree are used, because they can retain moisture much longer than the branches.
Read more about Miswak dental sticks here
Cleaning your mouth
To further clean your mouth after mechanical dental cleaning you can use:
- Mouthwash and
- A Tongue scraper
In my eyes, the use of mouthwash can by no means replace a proper mechanical tooth cleaning; it is just an additional tool for your mouth hygiene and cannot replace mechanical dental cleaning!
I think using mouthwash is largely overrated. In my opinion using mouthwash is really only necessary if you constantly have a bad breath or if you are experiencing signs of a disbalanced oral flora.
Read more about mouthwash and which are the best ones to use here
The use of tongue scrapers has a long history. Tongue scrapers were and are used in Ayurveda and in many eastern and oriental cultures for centuries. Nowadays they are used worldwide.
The benefits of using a tongue scraper are controversial. Tongue cleaning may help to reduce dental plaque formation, but does not seem to reduce bad breath. Also, overuse of a tongue scraper can impair on how you perceive taste.
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