Up Your Dental Wellness

Words: Nelressa STALLINGS-FAYE

You don’t need to devote too much time to take care of your teeth and gums. By giving just a few minutes daily, you can easily provide good care for your teeth and gums, and also keep bacteria and illness away.

No matter your age, it is important that you take care of your teeth and mouth, to the best extent possible.

A healthy mouth is your first step to eat foods for good nutrition. Or, have the confidence to smile, talk, and laugh without apprehension. If you have a ‘bad’ mouth, or unclean teeth, it affects your self-belief; also, self-esteem and self-confidence.

Remember, when you speak, it is the mouth that is the cynosure of all attention.


Teeth are our primary frontiers of cosmetic appeal.

Tooth decay does not just affect children. It can affect anyone, because we all have natural teeth. When tooth decay, or gums get diseased, it destroys the enamel that covers and protects your teeth. When this happens, bacteria assault your teeth, forming, in the process, a sticky, colourless layer on the surface. You know its name, don’t you? Dental plaque. When the condition intensifies, it can lead to expanded tooth decay and cavities.

You may have seen your dentist offer you fluoride treatment at the clinic, if you have cavities. Well, if you don’t like fluoride toothpaste and love herbal options, you’d use them. No problem. They are specially formulated.

This tautens and eases the swelling of the gums, stops bleeding from the gums, prevents toothache and decay. Most importantly, it controls bad breath.

Gum Disease

Gum disease harms the gums and bone that hold the teeth. They are in medical phraseology called periodontal, or gingival diseases. They are transmittable.

When the plaque build-up expands and lodges on your teeth for too long, a hard, detrimental covering is formed. This is called tartar. When it comes, it stays — no amount of brushing can help you eliminate it. In the long run, plaque and tartar cause enormous damage to your teeth.

In chronic cases, gums can turn red and swollen. They may also bleed easily. This is called gingivitis. When not treated adequately, it pulls your gums away from the teeth and forms pockets of infection [periodontitis]. Left untreated, periodontitis can demolish the bones, gums, and tissues that sustain your teeth. Further decline may lead to tooth extraction at the dentist’s office.


  • Stroke your teeth gently, on all sides with a soft-bristle brush and toothpaste
  • Apply small round motions and short back-and-forth strokes
  • Take your time to brush slowly along the gum line
  • Light brush your tongue — not roughly. Or, use a tongue cleaner
  • Clean around your teeth with dental floss. Regular flossing keeps your gums healthy; it also removes plaque and leftover food that your brush cannot reach
  • Rinse gently with plain water
  • If, for any reason, brushing, or flossing, leads to bleeding of the gums, or hurts your mouth, visit your dentist.


You need to be cautious before you get used to dentures. Dentures often make your mouth less perceptive to hot food and liquids. They may also make your mouth rigid, so much so, you may not differentiate harmful objects; bones, for instance.

Your dentist will make sure that the dentures fit you properly. Over a period of time, however, your mouth structure may change. When this happens, your dentures are replaced, or adjusted.


  • Try to keep your dentures clean and free from food particles. Food can cause stains, bad breath, or swollen gums
  • Brush all surfaces, once daily, with a denture care product
  • Remove your dentures when you go to sleep. Place them in water, or a denture cleansing liquid
  • If you have partial dentures, you need to impart the same care, because bacteria can accumulate under the clips.

Dental Implants

Your dentist may, at times, place small metal pieces in your jaw to hold false teeth, or partial dentures in place. These are called dental implants. They are, of course, not appropriate for everyone.

Implants are suggested after a complete dental and medical check-up — more so, if your dentist feels that they are right for you. Yet another key consideration is: your gums must be healthy, so also your jawbone, to support the implants.

Speak to your dentist, if you want to explore the idea of using dental implants, or anything else you’d like to know.

NELRESSA STALLINGS-FAYE, BA, MA, TESOL/TEFL/TOEFL, a former writer-copywriter-PR consultant, is US-certified and licensed K-12 educator, Cambridge certified lecturer, international administrative co-ordinator and research student from the University of Exeter. She currently works with the indigenous Yu’pik tribes in northern Alaska as a licensed educator and ESOL specialist.

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