The News
Tuesday 23 of July 2024

Three Steps to a Healthier Mouth

Less than 23 percent of Latin Americans regularly use floss,photo: Wikipedia
Less than 23 percent of Latin Americans regularly use floss,photo: Wikipedia
A mouthwash can remove up to 99.9 percent of oral bacteria


Odonatologist José Eduardo Pelino insists that there are three basic steps to good oral hygiene — brushing, flossing and rinsing.

“Most people in Latin America do brush their teeth two or three times a day,” said the São Paulo, Brazil-based Pelino, who was in town recently to attend an international trade show on dentistry and oral health at the World Trade Center and to present a conference on oral biofilm.

“But only 63 percent of Latin Americans use a mouthwash daily, and less than 23 percent of Latin Americans regularly use floss.”

This is a big mistake, said Pelino, who is both a member of the International Association for Dental Research (IADR) and the director of scientific engagement for the Johnson & Johnson antiseptic mouthwash brand Listerine.

Photo courtesy of wikipedia
Photo: Wikipedia

“Brushing and flossing is directed to your teeth, so it cleans about 25 percent of your mouth,” he said.

“But to clean the other 75 percent of your mouth, you need to use an antiseptic mouthwash twice a day.”

A mouthwash will help to penetrate and renew the biofilm that coats all the surfaces inside your mouth, including teeth, gums, tongue and soft tissue, Pelino said.

Biofilm is a naturally occurring layer of a multitude of complex bacterial species that coat and protect the mouth.

But when the biofilm is not renewed frequently, it can become a petri dish for unhealthy bacteria that can cause gingivitis, halitosis and periodontal disease.

Brushing and flossing help to remove stale biofilm from teeth.

Pelino said you should change your toothbrush every month to ensure that the bristles are in good shape and to prevent bacteria from growing on the brush.

But Pelino said that even people who do brush their teeth two or three times a day are usually only spending about 40 seconds for each brushing.

Photo: Wikipedia
“To properly brush your teeth, you need to spend at least two minutes, making sure you get the front, top and back of all your teeth,” he said.

“People just don’t want to invest the time it takes to care for their teeth and mouth, and, sadly, 99 percent of all adults in Latin America have some degree of gingivitis as a consequence.”

Pelino said that if your gums bleed at all when you brush your teeth, it is a clear sign that you suffer from gingivitis, which can lead to tooth decay or loss.

A through brushing and rinsing with a mouthwash can reduce the incidence of gingivitis by as much as 50 percent by renewing the mouth’s biofilm, he said.

Pelino went on to say that there are many other health issues that are linked to poor oral hygiene.

Pooring Mouthwash
Photo: Wikipedia

“Recent scientific studies have shown that certain bacteria in the mouth can migrate to other organs through cuts in the mouth or bleeding gums,” he said.

“These organs include the heart, liver, lungs and joints, and these bacteria have been linked to infections and other diseases in those organs.”

Pelino said that the research is so recent that there are not yet any statistics as to the possible increase in disease linked to the oral bacteria, but that initial studies indicate that the bacteria can play a significant role in poor health.

“Most people think of mouthwash as something to use before going out on a date or a job interview,” he said.

“But it is really important for your oral and general health.”

He likewise said that using an antiseptic mouthwash such as Listerine can reduce a person’s incidence of cavities and tooth loss.

Tooth decay can develop when too much acid builds up in the mouth.

That acid, which can erode enamel, can be caused by acidic foods or bacteria.

“Your mouth is constantly renewing its biofilm and your saliva helps to rinse away the old biofilm, but a mouthwash can remove up to 99.9 percent of oral bacteria,” Pelino said.

“A healthy mouth is part of a healthy lifestyle, and in order to ensure that your mouth is healthy, you need to take a three-pronged approach to oral hygiene. It isn’t enough to just brush or just brush and floss. Those steps are vital, but you need to reinforce them with a rinse that will clean the other areas of your mouth.”