An Orthodontist Explains the Importance of Dental Hygiene

Dental Hygiene Brooklyn, NY

If you want to feel your happiest and healthiest, you need to practice good dental hygiene. Caring for your mouth is vital to your overall health and will save you from a lot of problems down the road.

Why dental hygiene is important

Some of the benefits of good dental hygiene may be obvious to you. It keeps your smile healthy, prevents painful dental problems, and helps protect you from losing any teeth.

These benefits are considerable. Poor oral hygiene leads to tooth decay, cavities, gum disease, and tooth loss, whereas good oral hygiene helps avoid these problems by limiting the buildup of bacteria that causes them. When you eat foods rich in carbohydrates, the interaction between the carbohydrates and saliva in your mouth causes bacteria to form. These bacteria, if not kept in check, can build up and cause dental issues.

Treating dental problems can be costly and uncomfortable. A toothbrush and a pack of floss are a bargain compared to fixing dental problems. If a cavity forms in your tooth, you may require a filling or a crown. In more severe scenarios, you may need your orthodontist to perform a root canal or surgery to remove damaged teeth and install implants.

The health of your teeth is not all there is to dental hygiene. Your oral health is a window into the health of your entire body. Your mouth is where a lot of bacteria enters your body, so keeping your mouth clean also gets rid of bacteria that affect other parts of your body. Some research suggests that inflammation and infections caused by oral bacteria can contribute to stroke, clogged arteries, and heart disease. Oral bacteria can also affect your lungs, causing pneumonia or other respiratory issues.

What is good dental hygiene?

The most basic aspects of dental hygiene involve brushing at least twice a day, flossing, and regularly visiting your dentist twice a year.

Toothbrushes come in a wide variety of styles, shapes, and firmness. You should generally use soft bristles combined with a shape that suits your mouth well and is comfortable. Choosing toothpaste may seem overwhelming with dozens of varieties, some of which include fluoride, others that include antimicrobials, and still others that specialize in protecting your enamel. You do not have to make this decision alone, and you should consult your orthodontist who will help you choose a toothpaste that fits your particular needs.

When brushing, position the head at a 45-degree angle toward your gum line. Use short strokes to clean the surfaces of your teeth, including the inner and outer parts as well as the chewing surfaces. Your tongue can also contain bacteria, so brush the surface of that, too. Afterward, floss between your teeth, making sure to clean both sides of the gap down to the gumline.


Proper dental hygiene is not only vital to the health of your mouth; it can affect the health of your entire body. Make sure you are knowledgeable about the proper way to take care of your mouth and listen to your orthodontist’s advice.

Good dental hygiene begins as soon as permanent teeth begin to form, so consult with an orthodontist to discuss the best possible treatment for you or your child.

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