Good oral hygiene is important for maintaining overall health. Poor oral health has been linked to heart disease including stroke, lung diseases, diabetes, low birth weight and premature births. Many diseases give their first warning signs as oral problems.

The four important steps to maintain good oral health include:

• Brush your teeth after every meals or at least twice daily with fluoride toothpaste
• Floss every day
• Do not eat snacks between the meals several times
• Visit your dentist once in a year even if you have no problems

The electric toothbrush is better and here many achieve good results even without flossing. Consult your dentist. To understand the right brushing and flossing techniques there many videos in the Internet and you could see that. Normally you get information from your dentist.

Without regular care, many oral health problems can happen. These include:

• Gingivitis, mild gum disease
• Periodontists, severe gum disease
• Cavities
• Tooth decay and tooth fall

Once if you have any one of these problems you must visit your dentist twice in a year. Neglecting this may cause oral cancer. Inflamed and infected gums are the result of the build up of plaque and calculus.

Dental plaque is a soft deposit on the surface of the teeth formed by bacteria. Brushing the teeth and flossing can remove this effectively. The hardened calcified plaque is called calculus. It should be removed by your dentist with instruments. Gingivitis means inflammation of the gums and it is mostly caused by plaque. Periodontists means inflammation around the teeth. It occurs when the gingivitis becomes worse and here the tissue which joins the teeth to the gums and/or the supporting bone are affected. The result is the formation of a pocket between the tooth and gum. If it is not treated the tooth may loosen and fall out. The depth of the pockets indicates the severity of periodontists. Brushing the teeth in a normal way removes the plaque from pockets up to 3 mm deep and treatment is necessary for deeper pockets.

To prevent tooth decay the amount of acid formed by the bacteria on your teeth must be kept to a minimum. Food choices and dietary patterns influence dental health. The development of tooth decay (dental caries) involves the interaction of saliva, oral bacteria, fermentable carbohydrates and the teeth. Each plays an important role here. The food related points include:

• The between-meal snacks must be selected in an intelligent way so that your teeth are not exposed continuously to acid. Select foods that contain less fermentable carbohydrates. If you mix protein and fat in a good way with the fermentable carbohydrates the exposure of the teeth is limited to acid. Fruits have natural sugars, but the high water content of them helps to protect against tooth decay. Vegetables except root vegetables have not much carbohydrates and these are very healthy for tooth. The worst choices are bananas, raisins and other dried fruits, potato chips, french-fries, pretzels, chocolates, all sweets, cookies, cakes, muffins, crackers and breads. Avoid sucking on hard candies or mints. Citus fruits and juices are also very acidic.

• You must be careful with soft drinks which contain any form of sugars. It is better to avoid these soft drinks. Natural sugars from the fruit juices can also cause tooth decay. Drink them quickly, sipping them throughout the day is bad. Do not add too much of sugar to your coffee, tea or cocoa. Soda contains also acid. Water, tea and milk are the good choices to drink. Water helps to flush away food debris and dilutes the acids.

Brush the teeth after every meals. If it is not possible mornings and evenings are good. Sugarless chewing gum which contain xylitol is good to reduce the risk. It helps to remove the food stuck to your teeth and increases the saliva flow to neutralise the acids.

As you see it is in your hands to do a lot for your oral hygiene. Teach the children properly when they are small the importance of oral hygiene. Adolescents must also be informed regularly. Persons with depressions are the biggest risk group and the lack of energy makes them to neglect their oral hygiene and many get periodontists.