According to the American Heritage Dictionary of English Language, dental hygiene is defined as the practice of keeping the mouth, teeth and gums clean and healthy to prevent disease, as by regular brushing and flossing and visits to the dentist.
Dental hygiene starts in the womb, prenatal care, proper diet and vitamin supplements are necessary for pregnant mothers, in order to lay the foundation for their infants to have strong teeth and healthy gums.
The American Dental Association (ADA) recommends and reports the following:
Early attention in thoroughly cleaning the infant’s gum after each feeding with a wash cloth or gauze pad to stimulate the gum tissue and remove food. When the baby’s teeth starts to erupt you may clean them with a soft bristle tooth brush, there are tooth brushes designed especially for babies. At one year of age a dental visit should be scheduled for a routine dental examination followed by periodical visits to check for the progress of the primary teeth and for any tooth decay. As a child grows into adolescence and early adulthood, regular dental appointments should be scheduled to maintain proper dental hygiene and to provide any necessary dental care required.
The American Dental Hygienists’ Association (ADHA) reports that an estimated 75% of Americans reportedly have some form of periodontal disease, this disease is the most common cause of tooth loss. Dental experts suggest that adults should see there dental hygienist at least every six months in order to maintain healthy teeth and gums.
ADHA also reports, that recent surveys show that ninety percent of adults have, on average, 23.5 teeth. Almost a third of adults have all 28 teeth, and fifty percent age 55 and older wear partial or complete dentures. Seniors face root decay and periodontal disease problems, along with dexterity issues due to arthritis. Electric tooth brushes are helpful in cases where difficulty in brushing of their teeth poses a problem. Seniors must also give proper attention to the care, cleaning and maintenance of their partial or full dentures. They should also have regular dental check ups.
Other facts about Dental Hygiene
A report from the Center of Disease Control and the Surgeon General states:
Fewer than one-third of Americans know the proper brushing recommendation and only 34% floss daily.
Nearly half of Americans spend less than the recommended minimum two to three minutes brushing their teeth.
Tooth decay is one of the most common childhood diseases, five times as common as asthma.
Nearly 7 in 10 adults aged 35 to 44 years have lost at least one permanent tooth.
The nation’s yearly dental bill is roughly $60 billion.
The following guidelines are recommended by the ADA for good oral hygiene.
Brush your teeth twice a day with an ADA-accepted fluoride toothpaste. Replace your tooth brush 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.
Clean between teeth daily with floss or an inter-dental cleaner. Decay-causing bacteria still linger between teeth where toothbrush bristles can’t reach. This helps remove plaque and food particles from between the teeth and under the gum line.
Eat a balanced diet and limit between-meal snacks.
Visit your dentist regularly for professional cleanings and oral exams.
These interesting facts and guidelines should give us something to think about and act upon regarding dental hygiene.