Every year on 20th March World Oral Health Day is observed. The day aims at making people aware of having good and healthy oral health. 

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), globally, an estimated 3.5 billion individuals suffer from oral health issues. Regular adherence to fundamental dental hygiene procedures can not only maintain your teeth and gums in good condition but also guard against serious health problems.

Oral health refers to the health of the teeth, gums, and other structures in the mouth. It encompasses a range of conditions, including tooth decay, gum disease, oral cancers, and other diseases and disorders that affect the mouth and oral cavity.

Maintaining good oral health involves regular brushing and flossing of teeth, visiting a dentist for routine check-ups and cleanings, eating a healthy diet, and avoiding habits that can damage teeth and gums, such as smoking or excessive alcohol consumption.

Good oral health is important not only for maintaining a healthy mouth but also for overall health and well-being. 

World Oral Health Day 2023 theme 

The theme for World Oral Health Day 2023, as announced by the FDI World Dental Federation, is ‘Be Proud of Your Mouth: Make it a Priority’. The theme aims to raise awareness of the importance of good oral health as a key part of overall health and well-being. 

The campaign aims to encourage people to prioritize their oral health by adopting healthy habits, such as brushing and flossing regularly, avoiding tobacco use, and visiting a dentist for regular check-ups and cleanings. It also aims to address the stigma and shame that can be associated with dental problems and to promote the idea that good oral health is something to be proud of. 

Basic oral healthcare practices that you must follow

  • Regular brushing 

Since our childhood, we have been taught that the most basic and root oral hygiene mantra is regular brushing of teeth. 

Focus on brushing correctly. For at least two minutes, carefully brush all surfaces of the teeth to prevent stress on the dental enamel.

Brush your teeth twice a day: one after waking up in the morning and the other just before bed. It will clear plaque, other germs on teeth, and all the tiny food particles in the mouth.

  • Flossing 

Flossing is an important part of maintaining good oral hygiene. It involves using a thin thread or string to clean between teeth and remove food particles and plaque that may have accumulated in areas that are difficult to reach with a toothbrush.

Flossing can also help to prevent bad breath by removing food particles and bacteria that can cause odour. In addition, flossing can stimulate the gums and promote healthy circulation in the gum tissue.

  • Tongue cleaning 

Tongue cleaning is beneficial for dental hygiene. The tongue can accumulate bacteria, food particles, and dead cells, which can contribute to bad breath and the development of oral health problems, such as cavities and gum disease.

Tongue cleaning involves gently scraping or brushing the surface of the tongue to remove these accumulated particles. This can be done using a tongue scraper, which is a tool specifically designed for this purpose, or a toothbrush with a tongue cleaner on the back.

By removing these particles from the tongue, you can improve your overall oral hygiene and reduce the risk of developing dental problems. Additionally, tongue cleaning can help to freshen your breath and improve your sense of taste.

Avoiding sugary beverages and foods is an important step in maintaining good dental health. Sugary foods and drinks can contribute to the development of tooth decay, which is caused by bacteria in the mouth that feed on sugars and produce acid that erodes tooth enamel.

When you consume sugary foods and drinks, the bacteria in your mouth convert the sugars into acid, which can dissolve the enamel on your teeth, leading to cavities and other dental problems. Sugary beverages, such as soda and sports drinks, are particularly harmful because they contain high levels of sugar, but are also acidic, which can further damage tooth enamel.

  • Oil pulling 

Oil pulling is an ancient Ayurvedic practice that involves swishing oil, such as coconut oil or sesame oil, in the mouth for several minutes before spitting it out. While there is limited scientific evidence to support the benefits of oil pulling, some people believe that it can help improve dental health in several ways.

Proponents of oil pulling claim that the practice can help to reduce harmful bacteria in the mouth, prevent tooth decay, and freshen breath. Some studies have suggested that oil pulling may effectively reduce the levels of bacteria in the mouth, including Streptococcus mutans, which is a major contributor to tooth decay.

  • Staying hydrated 

Staying hydrated is important for maintaining good dental health in several ways:

  • Promotes saliva production: Drinking enough water helps to promote the production of saliva, which is important for maintaining a healthy mouth. 
  • Rinses away food particles: Water helps to rinse away food particles and bacteria in the mouth that can contribute to bad breath and dental problems such as tooth decay and gum disease. 
  • Prevents dry mouth: Staying hydrated can help to prevent dry mouth, a condition in which there is not enough saliva in the mouth. 
  • Regular visits to the dentist

It is an important part of maintaining good dental health. Even if you brush and floss regularly, there may be dental problems that only a dentist can detect, such as early signs of tooth decay, gum disease, or oral cancer. Regular dental check-ups allow your dentist to detect any dental problems early on before they become more serious and require more extensive and expensive treatments. For example, if your dentist detects early signs of tooth decay, they can treat it with a simple filling before it progresses to a more serious condition that requires a root canal or tooth extraction.

Final thoughts 

World Oral Health Day 2023 provides a great opportunity to raise awareness about the importance of oral health and its impact on overall health and well-being. It is a day to reflect on the progress made in oral health care, but also to identify the challenges that still need to be addressed to improve oral health outcomes for all.

People should know the importance of prevention and early intervention in maintaining good oral health. This includes regular brushing and flossing, a healthy diet, and regular dental check-ups. Early detection and treatment of oral health problems can prevent them from becoming more serious and costly treatments. 

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