Dental care has a powerful impact on your overall health. Oral health is not just about bad breath or bleeding gums. Your mouth can be the first indication and open doors to several underlying problems – cardiovascular disease, problematic pregnancies, oral cancer and even stroke. A regular visit to the dentist can help mitigate problems, if any, at an early stage. It is also equally important to follow a good oral hygiene routine at home. Here are some basic thumb rules of oral health.

1. Spend minimum of three minutes to brush your teeth twice a day. Floss once a day to prevent formation of plaque, which can damage the teeth and gums.

2. Fluoride toothpaste prevents tooth decay and cavities. Look for toothpastes approved by a prominent dental association. 

3. Clean your tongue regularly. You can use either a tongue cleaner or a soft-bristle brush to do the job. 

4. Rinse the toothbrush thoroughly with water after brushing, and always store toothbrush in an upright position as this helps in drying the brush. Covering the toothbrush with closed containers can promote the growth of bacteria. Keep the brush away from the toilet area in a separate room if possible. Did you know that each time you flush the toilet, it spreads bacteria in the air?

5. Dispose toothbrush if you notice damaged bristles. It is also a good practice to replace toothbrush every two to three months.

6. Dentists advise regular dental checkup twice a year. However, do visit a dentist if you notice any of the following symptoms –

a. Swollen gums
b. Bleeding gums
c. Loss of permanent teeth
d. Loss of taste in mouth
e. Persistent bad breath
f. Extreme sensitivity to heat or cold

How often to you visit a dentist? What are some must-do dental routines that you generally do? Give your suggestions and tips here.