World Oral Health Day: 5 oral hygiene routines you might think are healthy but can turn harmful
Every year 20th March is internationally observed as World Oral Health Day. The theme for this year is “unite for mouth health”, which aims at encouraging people to take a pledge to look after their oral health. The hope is that, with everyone’s combined pledges and efforts, the burden of oral disease would reduce worldwide.
Regular brushing and flossing of the teeth is required to keep them healthy and free from cavities. But, what everyone wishes to have instead of healthy teeth is a set of shiny pearl-like teeth. In order to get that, apart from brushing with toothpaste, people use many other products to make their teeth whiter. Some of these can harm the enamel, the outermost layer of the teeth, which protects the nerves and arteries of the teeth from the external environment. Damaged enamel makes one prone to sensitivity and cavities.
We spoke to Dr Sonia Bhatt, a dental surgeon associated with myUpchar, about the effectiveness of five such things which people use to clean their mouth.
1. Baking soda
Baking soda, chemically called sodium bicarbonate, is a common ingredient used in every kitchen. Some people often use it to brush their teeth and argue that it makes their teeth look shinier.
Professional take: Baking soda is a mild abrasive so it can remove the superficial layer of plaque present on the surface of the teeth if used in less quantity. Overuse and regular use of baking soda grind the surface of the enamel and make the teeth sensitive. Baking soda can also cause irritation and abrasion on the gums.
Vinegar is an acidic solution which is used in cooking, baking and food preservation. Some people use vinegar to clean their teeth.
Professional take: Since vinegar is an acid, it’s repetitive use can erode the enamel making your teeth prone to sensitivity.
3. Neem or babool twigs
The ancient Indian civilization has been reported to use twigs to clean their teeth. Twigs are still being used in many Indian houses. Some people even claim them to be better than modern toothbrushes.
Professional take: Neem and babool twigs have antimicrobial properties and can effectively fight against the cavity-causing bacteria (S.mutans). The major disadvantage of these twigs is that their small pieces can get embedded deep in the gums. These pieces lead to the formation of pus (abscess) in the gums. Rarely, the bacteria from the abscess travels to the heart, causing a life-threatening condition called bacterial-endocarditis.
Brushing of teeth is not the only way of maintaining your oral hygiene. Some people use commercially available mouthwashes on a daily basis for cleaning their mouth.
Professional take: Mouthwashes help in masking the foul odour from the mouth and keeps the mouth protected from cavity-causing bacteria. However, regular use of mouthwashes can lead to brown staining of the teeth and cause damage to the taste buds. You must dilute the mouthwash before using it. Mouthwashes should only be used for 21 days and then discontinued for at least one week before starting again.
Some people use charcoal to make their teeth naturally white.
Professional take: The binding ends of activated charcoal powder help in absorbing the stains present on the surface of the teeth. It can help in removing the plaque and minor stains present on the surface of the teeth, but it does not change the colour or hue of your teeth.
For more tips, read our article on Oral Hygiene Tips.
Health articles in Firstpost are written by myUpchar.com, India’s first and biggest resource for verified medical information. At myUpchar, researchers and journalists work with doctors to bring you information on all things health.
The information provided here is intended to provide free education about certain medical conditions and certain possible treatment. It is not a substitute for examination, diagnosis, treatment, and medical care provided by a licensed and qualified health professional. If you believe you, your child or someone you know suffers from the conditions described herein, please see your health care provider immediately. Do not attempt to treat yourself, your child, or anyone else without proper medical supervision. You acknowledge and agree that neither myUpchar nor firstpost is liable for any loss or damage which may be incurred by you as a result of the information provided here, or as a result of any reliance placed by you on the completeness, accuracy or existence of any information provided herein.
Updated Date: Mar 20, 2020 14:24:58 IST
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