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Simple steps for good oral health

Simple steps for good oral health


Dr. Kumudu Wijesinghe Suriya


Eating is something we all do on a daily basis.  Our mouths are busy places.  Inside our mouths are also places where there are many tiny organisms live.  Among them, bacteria are the main category.  Not all of these bacteria are harmful.  But, harmful bacteria can be a major problem.  They can attach themselves to surfaces such as the enamel that covers our teeth.  If they are not removed, they will multiply into colonies of bacteria.  When food pieces and residues mixed with saliva (spit) are present, these bacteria create a whitish film on teeth.  This film is commonly known as plaque.  If you let plaque accumulate in your mouth, that could cause cavities in your teeth as well as gum disease.

As long as you understand that what we eat as well as what we leave in our mouths after eating will create problems for us, finding practical solutions is doable.  Changing what people eat may be difficult.  What can be easily done is cleaning our mouths.

(1) You need to flush out food pieces and residues from your mouth.  Each time after eating, drink water.  While drinking, rinse your mouth.

(2) In light of the fact that much of the BC Lower Mainland water supply is non-Fluoridated, it is important to brush your teeth properly with a Fluoridated toothpaste at least two times a day with a soft-bristled toothbrush.  Make sure to clean not just teeth, but also areas such as tongue and gums.

(3) Floss your teeth regularly. A practical strategy is to floss before you go to bed.  Flossing may reach surfaces where brushing cannot reach.

Some of the solutions to oral health are as simple as adhering to proper oral hygiene habits.  It is not something just dentists and other dental professionals alone can do for you.  It is rather something that many of you are able to do for yourselves.  Include in-house oral care into your daily routines.

If you have children, make them a part of your daily routine.  Make sure to use appropriate type of toothpaste so as to be compatible with their age and needs.  The same should be done with senior citizens under your care.  Studies show that family approach to daily oral care works well.

Take charge of your oral health through prevention as it is easier to reduce your chances of needing root canal treatments, tooth extractions, implants and more.


Dr. Kumudu Wijesinghe Suriya, BDS (Peradeniya), DMD (UBC), is a dentist who practices in New Westminster & Surrey.

Sri Lanka Times (BC, Canada), August 2012

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