Categories: Dental Sciences

The Beginner’s Guide to Good Oral Health


Good oral health is essential for ensuring the general wellbeing of both children and adults. Healthy teeth can assist us in eating and chewing foods of different textures. At the same time, they also add to the individual personality; as they contribute to our speech, smile and shape of the face.

However, most of us tend to neglect their maintenance, as our awareness and knowledge on dental health is limited. Below we have compiled a list of common queries posed by patients to dentists. 

   1)What is the difference between dental plaque and dental tartar?

Dental plaque is a sticky film of bacteria and salivary deposits that coats all the teeth in the oral cavity. Regular brushing, morning and night, prevents the deposit of this sticky film on teeth. If plaque remains on the teeth, the bacteria within the plaque releases acids, which leads to the formation of cavities.

Irregular and ineffective brushing will allow this plaque to harden over time to form calcified yellowish deposits, that cannot be removed with a brush. This is called dental calculus or tartar, which over time will cause gum inflammation and disease.

A 6 monthly professional cleaning by a dentist is recommended to remove plaque and calculus deposits.

2) What are the common mistakes to avoid while brushing your teeth?

1) Use toothbrushes, with soft bristles as they ensure effective mechanical cleaning without damaging the tooth substance.

2) Use 1000 ppm fluoridated toothpastes in both adults and children, as they provide maximal protection to your teeth.

3) Avoid the use of medicated toothpastes like Sensodyne and Thermoseal, unless precsribed by a dentist.

3) Start brushing your child’s tooth right from the time of eruption of their first tooth.

4) Nightly brushing is a must, as it ensures food stagnation does not occur.

5) Ensure you brush the surfaces of the tooth facing the tongue and hard palate, as they are often neglected by patients. 

 3)How to use a dental floss (step by step) and its importance for oral care

Food tends to get wedged in between teeth, especially in the milk molars in children. The bristles of a toothbrush cannot reach these areas resulting in almost 30% of tooth surfaces remaining uncleaned.

A dental floss is a thin, soft thread which is passed between teeth right up to the gums. The outward pull of the floss thread helps in removing the food debris and plaque between the contacts of all the teeth, preventing the formation of cavities.

Flossing tips

  • Break off about 45cm of floss and wind some around 1 finger of each hand.
  • Hold the floss tightly between your thumbs and forefingers, with about 2.5cm of floss between them, leaving no slack.
  • Use a gentle “rocking” or “sawing” motion to guide the floss between your teeth. Do not force the floss into the gums.
  • When the floss reaches your gumline, press it against any one of the teeth.
  • Hold the floss against the tooth. Gently scrape the side of the tooth, moving the floss away from the gum. Repeat on the other side of the gap, along the side of the next tooth.
  • The use of a floss holder can make it easier for children to floss regularly.


Must Read : FAQ about dental care for your child

4)What are the foods that can be eaten after any surgical dental procedure?

After a dental surgery or a tooth extraction, one should avoid consuming hot foods as this may cause further bleeding and swelling.

Hard foods that require chewing, such as biscuits, toasts, chapatis, pizza, wafers etc. mush be avoided as this can cause irritation and injury at the site of the surgery or extraction leading to more pain and bleeding.

Soft cold foods such as cold milk or melted ice-cream are advised on the day of the procedure so as to help reduce the bleeding and swelling. Children can eat a soft diet like khichdi, dahi rice or idlis that do not require too much chewing. Maintain a soft diet to allow the injury site to heal for 24-48 hours depending on the procedure.


There is a common misconception that dental treatment is a painful experience. But under the care of a qualified general dentist for adults and a pediatric dentist for children; dental treatment can painless and comfortable.

Regular dental visits are a must to ensure that your dentist can recommend a home oral care routine that keeps your smile healthy and sparkling.

Dr. Harsh Vyas – Sr. Consultant (Paediatric Dentistry) | Dr. Nikhita Gune – Jr.  Consultant (Paediatric Dentistry)

Narayana Health

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Narayana Health

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