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Oral Care

Dealing with Toothaches

When a toothache hits, you can neither sleep nor eat. Even breathing becomes a conscious task as you try to control the airflow over the affected area. Here are some tips to help you until you can get to the dentist:
  1. Put a drop of clove oil on a cotton swab and wipe it on and around the tooth and if the oil is too strong, cut it with Vitamin E oil or olive oil but if you use Vitamin E oil, please ensure that the oil is food grade and not cosmetic grade.
  2. You must avoid carbonated water and sodas because they contain phosphates that leak out calcium and destroy the tooth enamel.

  3. Rinse your mouth with warm water and salt water but it must be 1/2 teaspoon salt to 8 ounces of warm water so that it is balanced.

  4. You can also use alcohol-free goldenseal extract as an antibacterial mouthwash to fight the infection.

  5. Please use good dental hygiene and brush your teeth daily, preferably after each meal but if you cannot brush after eating, then rinse you mouth with warm water and make sure you floss your teeth daily.

  6. Reduce sugar from your diet because sugar offers a breeding ground for bacteria and it one of the major causes of tooth decay.

  7. Get yearly checkups from your dentist as some dentists will recommend you to be checked twice a year and if the pain is severe or if you notice bleeding around your teeth and gums, then you must see a dentist immediately.

Choosing a Toothbrush
  • The brush head should be small, narrow and densely packed with bristles. For adults' brushes, the head should measure 22-28 mm x 10-13 mm, and for children's 20 mm x 10 mm.
  • Choose synthetic bristles rather than natural ones if possible, since natural bristles do not dry out as quickly, and run the risk of collecting bacteria.
  • Look for thin, flexible bristles that are rounded at the tip.
  • Choose a soft or medium brush - hard bristles can scratch tooth enamel and cut your gums.
  • The toothbrush handle should be long and slender, and if possible slightly flexible in order to moderate the pressure to your teeth and gums during brushing.

Ideal Teeth-Brushing Technique
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Place the head of the brush at a 45-degree angle against your gumline. Clean the front teeth by moving the brush in small circles for about 30 seconds.

Brush the outer surfaces of the upper and lower back teeth, keeping the bristles of your toothbrush angled against the gumline.

Clean the inside surfaces of the lower teeth, using small circular brushing movements. Spend about 30 seconds on each tooth.

Use and up-and-down stroke to clean the inner surfaces of the front teeth, only this time tilt the brush vertically to make access easier.

Brush the biting surfaces of the upper teeth, using firm to-and-fro strokes. Repeat the technique to clean the biting surfaces of the lower teeth.

Flossing Technique
  1. Break off about 12 inches (30 cm) of floss. Wind it round the index finger of each hand, leaving about 4 inches (10 cm) of floss in between.

  2. Pull the floss taut and carefully insert it between two teeth. Draw the floss firmly between the sides of the teeth with a sawing action. Stop when the floss reaches the gum tip.

  3. Curve the floss into a C-shape against one tooth. Gently slide it into the space between the gum and the tooth until you feel resistance. Do not jerk or snap the floss into the gums.

  4. Hold the floss against the tooth, moving the floss away from the gum. Repeat for the rest of your teeth, using a fresh section of floss each time.

Bleeding Gums

If your gums bleed when you brush or floss your teeth, you most probably have gingivitis - inflammation to the gums, caused by infection.

Healthy gums are pink or brown and firm; with gingivitis they become red, soft and swollen, and often bleed on brushing. The condition is usually caused by a hazardous build-up of plaque around the base of the teeth. Bleeding can also be caused by rough brushing or flossing, or by a cut or other injury to the gums.

Make sure you brush and floss your teeth regularly using the above method. If your gums continue to bleed, see your dentist - untreated gum disease is one of the main causes of tooth loss. In any case, visit your dentist at least once a year to have your teeth checked and cleaned thoroughly.

Recurring Mouth Ulcers

There are possible reasons why mouth ulcers recurs:
  • Run down feeling or stress
  • Heredity
  • Hormones - especially during puberty or menstruation
  • Lack Vitamin B or C in diet, or anaemic
  • Over-vigorous brushing of teeth which causes abrasions on the gums that can turn ulcerous.
  • Mouth irritation from particular chemicals, spices, tobacco or alcohol.
  • For more serious, herpes simplex virus. The first attack can be severe, with sore throat and ulcers inside the mouth. Subsequent attacks are less severe, with fewer and smaller ulcers.
For instant relief when ulcers appear, avoid hot or spicy food and drink, and alcohol and tobacco, and use an analgesic mouthwash or mouth gel to ease the pain. If the ulcers coincide with feeling run down, check your diet (ensure it is well-balanced) and take more rest.

Mouth ulcers usually self-healed, but consult doctor if they persist for more than two weeks or are accompanied by a skin condition or by other symptoms such as white patches in the mouth or throat.

Ulcers that appear in the wake of medication also need immediate medical advice, as do any that bleed or become infected, or that are associated with lumps or growths in the mouth. A doctor or dentist may prescribe a stronger mouthwash or ointment to accelerate the healing process, or conduct blood tests to check for other disorders.