Oral self-care is paramount

The daily home-care regimen you use to remove the bacterial plaque (biofilm) from your oral structures is the most important self-help activity you can engage in.

by Dr. Nicolas Meyer — 

No amount of professional dental care can ever hope to substitute for what you are able to do for yourself. The daily home-care regimen you use to remove the bacterial plaque (biofilm) from your oral structures is the most important self-help activity you can engage in.

Bleeding gums can leak bacteria into your blood stream that can travel to your vital organs or joints and forever harm your health and well-being.

The most important tools, in order of importance, in your home-care tool chest are a toothbrush (power or manual), dental floss, tongue scraper and an oral irrigation device.

The brush and floss are the primary tools for removing biofilm (plaque) from your teeth, both above and below the gum line, tongue, cheeks and palate.

The tongue scraper is used to clean the top of your tongue where the papilla (thick filaments) collect all manner of debris and bugs.

The oral irrigator is good for gross debris dislodgment and flushing, as well as soft tissue stimulation. It is also a fantastic tool to carry bacteriostatic agents into hard-to-access nooks and crannies. And yes, you still need to brush.  An oral irrigator is not a substitute for brushing — it is an adjunct to a comprehensive plan.

So what does this information mean to you? It means that your overall health and well-being as an active human sit squarely on your shoulders. Your diligent repeated daily brushing and flossing will help save your natural teeth, limit any aggressive tooth decay (rot), disrupt the accumulation of biofilm, keep your dentist and hygienist as your health advocates and allow you to keep your own teeth for a lifetime, and not just in a box.

Your choice of toothpaste should include one that does not have sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS), as this ingredient is known to cause mouth ulcers. Many people shy away from fluoride-containing products, as fluoride competes competitively with iodine for the iodine-binding sites on your thyroid. This means that the product can look like it is working, but it cannot because the foreign invader is taking up the space meant for iodine.

In general, the oral irrigator can be filled with almost any of the irrigators available, but you really should consult with your health care professional as to what might be the best one for your particular needs.

Follow the above tips for happy home dental care.

 

Nicholas Meyer, D.D.S., D.N.M., is a general dentist in Scottsdale, Ariz., who has a special interest in developmental disturbances of the facial complex that contribute to such maladies as TMJ, snoring and sleep apnea. 480-948-0560,  DrMeyer@milldental.com or www.milldental.com.

Reprinted from AzNetNews, Volume 32, Number 1, February/March 2013.

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