In order to take control and improve your dental health, it is important to know the four pillars of the dental health.
Do you know the four pillars of dental health? In this post, I will share what they are and how you can easily remember them using the 4Ds.
After you know them, you can easily take small steps to achieve excellent oral health.
The 4 Ds of Dental Health
1. Daily Habits
The things that you do daily will contribute to your overall dental health. Take a look at your current situation and answer these questions honestly.
- Do you brush twice a day, each time with 2 minutes?
Brushing is something we learn to do when we have our first teeth and it is the most basic activity that contributes to removing the food particles after we eat. By brushing twice a day, 2 minutes each time will help to remove the plaque.
There are many methods of brushing your teeth that are available and I have mentioned 3 methods in my earlier post. Use a method that works and follow it diligently to save yourself potential tooth issues down the line.
Whether you use manual toothbrushes or electric toothbrushes, choose those with soft to medium bristles. They will work hard to remove bacteria from the surfaces and not harm your gums. For me, I choose a bass toothbrush that has rounded bristles and also the bristles are spaced out, giving them room to manipulate just below the gum line.
- Do you floss regularly?
If you do, what are the types of floss you use? Do you use waxed floss? Do you use the dental picks? Waxed floss are made from nylon and do not fray while flossing compared to the traditional ones. Fraying will result in floss stuck between the teeth, and that can be very frustrating.
Some people prefer using disposable floss picks as they do not want to fuss with floss strings, so regardless of which method you prefer, learn to floss and you will benefit from healthier gums.
- Do you use mouthwash?
Though not compulsory, using a mouthwash can yield certain benefits if you feel you have not done enough of the basics, like removing bad breath. Be sure to choose therapeutic mouth rinse that contains antimicrobial agents and fluoride. If you dislike the smell of mouthwash, you can always use make your own by applying a few drops of OraWellness Healthy Mouth Blend.
- Do you clean your tongue?
Your tongue is important to help you enjoy your food, but it is often neglected. It is very easy to clean your tongue by using your toothbrush or a tongue cleaner. It does not take more than a few seconds and is so much easier than flossing.
What Role Does Saliva Play In Your Oral Health?
Saliva is different from phlegm, where the body gathers the harmful toxins into a gluey stuff for you to spit out. Saliva is the watery liquid that is produced under your tongue. Visualize a lemon in your head and immediately your brain secretes the saliva.
If you smoke, you are inviting a whole list of unpleasant diseases like gum diseases and heart diseases. It can also lead to tooth loss, stains, bad breath and the list goes on. If you can give up smoking, it will definitely help you have better oral care.
- Nutrients for your teeth
Your body absorbs nutrients from the food you eat. You nourish your hair, nails and skin, but what about your teeth? Is it being neglected? Thankfully, there are products out there like Orawellness Shine Remineralizing Tooth Whitening powder that helps in the nourishment of your teeth.
- What is the quality of your sleep?
Do you go to bed and wake up refreshed or feeling even more lethargic? A few good tips for good sleep include
- Setting a normal sleep routine. I find that I function well when I have at least 8 hours of sleep, so my usual bedtime is 10pm in the night.
- Having a darkened bedroom. Sleeping in a dark room, allows your body to produce melatonin, that aids in good quality sleep.
- Avoid caffeine and mobile devices at least 2 hours from bedtime. If not, you may find yourself awake and still thinking. This will affect your quality of sleep.
Generally, foods good for your body will also be good for your teeth. A balanced diet of fruits, vegetables, protein foods, calcium-rich foods and whole grains provides essential nutrients for optimum oral health as well as overall health.
You can take note of the following pointers to help you gain better nutrients.
1. Eat a good savory breakfast, not the sugar loaded cereals.
2. Eat fruits like apple, also carrots and leafy vegetables.
3. Eat food that has fibre like banana and oatmeal.
Bad Foods to reduce or avoid in your diet, will be those with high sugar content. Lately, refined carbohydrates such as white bread, white rice, and potato chips are being classified as such.
Avoid acidic beverages like fresh orange juices and soft drinks. Other sticky snacks like popcorn and cotton candies will cause your teeth to be cracked since you may bite into the hard kernels of the popcorn, and also be trapped beneath the gum tissues.
Avoid snacking in between meals if you can. Your snacks are likely to include chocolate, biscuits and these will add food bits inside your mouth if not removed in time. If you must snack, choose low sugar options, go for fruits and have a good rinse after that.
One Useful Tip
Acids in your food will sit on your teeth the moment you eat. A good way is to swish your mouth with water, this will balance the PH balance of your teeth and reduce your teeth’s prolonged exposure. Alternatively, you may rinse your mouth to remove bits of food particles stuck between the teeth.
Water is a natural helper but many of us do not consciously drink enough water. We let ourselves be so occupied by work or study that we tend to underfeed our bodies with water. Drink lots of water, at least 2 litres, and this will go a long way to
- remove toxins from our system
- hydrate your mouth and digestive system
- keep your kidneys healthy
Wear protective mouth guard during physical sports like rugby, basketball and soccer. This will reduce the impact in case of a collision, and prevent teeth from being injured.
For ladies who do not do sports, it is also good to protect your mouth and lips from the harmful rays by using lip balm to protect against the sun’s harmful rays.
Check that you do not have a condition called Bruxism, that is grinding in the sleep. In children, the reason for having bruxism could be due to stress.
4. Dentist Visits
If you have not started the habit of visiting your dentist, you should start as soon as possible. The recommended frequency is half-yearly or yearly. Find a good local dentist, either at the local governmental clinics, or private practices.
A good dentist cleans up your teeth and can give you a fluoride treatment too.
A short video to summarise the 4 pillars of Dental Health :
- Caries / cavities – a hole in the tooth caused by bacteria.
- Plaque – a colorless, sticky film composed of undigested food particles mixed with saliva and bacteria. Plaque turns into tartar or calculus.
- Canker sores – sores or ulcers in the mouth and often make eating and talking uncomfortable.
- Gum recession – dental roots exposed due to abrasion and erosion.
- Gingivitis – inflamed, swollen, and reddish gum tissue.
- Periodontitis – the inner layer of the gum and bone pull away from the teeth and from pockets.Source : webmd.com, for more details, refer here.
Learn About The Names Of Your Teeth
For a pictorial guide to your mouth, download the Mouthmap.
Here is the naming convention for your common teeth. You can learn more details here.
- 4 Incisors on upper teeth and 4 on lower teeth – The front incisor teeth bite and cut food into small pieces.
- 2 Canines on upper teeth and 2 on lower teeth – The canines grip and tear food.
- 4 Premolars on upper teeth and 4 on lower teeth – Premolars tear and crush food.
- 6 Molars on upper teeth and 6 on lower teeth – Molars are the largest teeth and they chew and crush food. Children have 4 molars on upper teeth and 4 on lower teeth.
Different layers of teeth
- Most Outer – Enamel is the hardest part of the tooth.
- Dentin – second layer and is softer.
- Pulp – this is where the nerves and blood vessels are. Dentist will access this layer when they are doing root canal works.
- Cementum is on the root of the tooth and is beneath the gums.
By being aware of the 4Ds of Dental Health, you can easily remember the factors that contribute to your oral health. These are the areas that you can have direct control over, in the area of daily habits, diet, defensive gear you can put on, and regular visits to the dentist.
I hope that you can strengthen your weak areas and let me know if you have any questions regarding your oral health.