What is Oral Hygiene? How to Maintain Good Dental Hygiene?

Know about Oral and Dental Hygiene- The Basics of Oral Hygiene, its Importance and Tips for good oral and dental hygiene.

What is Oral Hygiene?

what-is-oral-hygieneOral hygiene means keeping mouth and teeth clean so that we can prevent common dental problems like dental cavities, gingivitis, and bad breath. Good oral hygiene is when our mouth looks and smells healthy. This means that our teeth are clean and free of debris; our gums are pink and they do not hurt or bleed when we brush or floss; and we do not suffer from bad breath. If any of these problems occur, we have poor oral hygiene. In such a situation, we should take steps for keeping good oral hygiene either by taking proper care of our mouth and teeth or by visiting dental hygienist who can help us in learning techniques for good oral hygiene.

What is the Importance of Oral Hygiene?

Our mouth is a very vital organ that carries out many important functions like eating, drinking, taste, breathing, verbal as well as non-verbal communication etc. Our saliva too has antibacterial properties that helps our body in fighting against infections. Therefore, oral hygiene is important as it keeps our mouth and teeth healthy leading to good health and general well being. In simple terms, oral hygiene is important in preventing many diseases, some of which have been listed below.

What are the Diseases Caused by Poor Oral and Dental Hygiene?

If we do not keep good oral health, following diseases can give us pain, embarrassment and uneasiness, not to forget infections!




Inflammation and cracked skin of the lips with reddened or bleeding areas.


Any foreign material that is loosely attached to a tooth surface.

Dental caries

Cavities or decayed tooth which causes due to plaque and complex interaction of food, particularly starches and sugars, with bacteria that form dental plaque.

Dental plaque

Mucus and bacteria attached to the teeth leading to dental caries and infections of the gingival tissue.


Inflammation of the gums where the gums around the teeth become red, swollen and bleeding occurs.


Offensive breath or bad breath.

Oral candidiasis

It is also called oral thrush and is an infection of yeast fungi on the mucous membranes of the mouth.


It is an inflammation of the mucous lining of the oral cavity which may involve the cheeks, gums, tongue, lips, throat, and roof or floor. It may occur with or without ulceration.


It is the hardened plaque or hard calcified deposit which forms on the teeth leading to their decay.


Abnormal dryness of mouth due to reduced saliva secretion.

What are the Basics of Oral Hygiene?

what-is-oral-hygieneNow when we know the importance of oral hygiene and the risks involved in poor dental hygiene, we should also know about the basics of oral hygiene so that we may practice it regularly. The basics of oral hygiene involve three factors:

  • Brushing and Flossing
  • Healthy Diet
  • Long Term Dental Care

How to adopt these basic practices for oral hygiene and keep our mouth and teeth healthy? Read on the tips for good oral hygiene given below to get the answer to this question!

Tips for Good Oral and Dental Hygiene

Now we know that brushing and flossing, healthy diet, and long term dental care are what we need to maintain good oral hygiene. So, how to go about these factors! Here are some tips for dental hygiene.

Brushing and Flossing

  • Brush twice a day. Use the right technique of brushing- downward strokes for upper teeth and upward strokes for lower teeth. Children may use circular motion while brushing teeth.
  • Brush twice daily- in the morning, preferably after breakfast and at night before going to bed.
  • Brush at least for 2 minutes- not less than that.
  • Brush your tongue also to prevent mouth borne bacteria.


  • Flossing after brushing each time helps remove plaque from in between the teeth as brushing removes plaque from the surfaces of teeth only.
  • A mouthwash that does not contain alcohol can help in maintaining good oral hygiene. Choose mouthwash having anti plaque agent and some fluoride.


Healthy Diet for Oral Health

  • Avoid having too much sugary foods and drinks like soda, cold drinks, sweetened tea etc.
  • Have foods rich in calcium and vitamins like nuts, cheese etc. As they help strengthen enamel. Get enough B vitamins and calcium for health of the teeth.
  • Sticky foods like banana and french fries that stick to teeth can harm them. Brushing teeth after having sticky foods is a good idea for oral health.
  • It’s not possible to brush between meals so a sugarless gum can be chewed for about 10 minutes after meal. It helps remove food particles from between teeth.
  • Snacks between meals should be healthy and without sugar.
  • Acidic foods such as lemon and orange can promote tooth decay. Dilute them with water when having them and brush after having them.
  • Fresh and raw fruits like apples are good for teeth health.

Long Term Dental Care

  • Get regular dental check up and teeth cleaning, preferably every six month.
  • Replace tooth brush every three months and keep it clean and germ free.
  • If having tooth ache, immediately go to dentist as this can be due to some infection.
  • Avoid smoking or chewing tobacco as they are bad for oral health.
  • If you experience tooth sensitivity or taste of your mouth changes or you face any other issue that’s not normal for mouth or teeth, consult your dentist.

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