Tooth erosion can damage the surface of the teeth exposing the underlying dentine which results in the teeth being sensitive to sweet, cold and hot foods. Another harmful aspect that can result when the teeth and gums are neglected is periodontal disease or gum disease. Periodontal disease causes infection of the tissues around the teeth which results from accumulation of plaque. If the gum disease is severe, it may result in periodontitis and gingivitis. Gingivitis affects the gums resulting in inflammation and leading to periodontitis which in turn affects the membrane of the tissues around the teeth. This condition also causes halitosis or bad breath. Dentists advise their patients to adhere or practice good oral hygiene to prevent infections affecting the oral cavity especially tooth decay or caries. Caries is a condition where holes form in the enamel of the tooth due to plaque build-up. The sugar and the starch in the food mix with the bacteria and form a plaque which is sticky and acidic in nature. This melts down the enamel of the tooth and the patient would need inlays, crowns or fillings.
If daily oral hygiene is practiced in a systematic way with regular visits to the dentist, a healthy oral cavity would result and people can enjoy normal lifestyles. There are several ways to maintain the well-being of the oral cavity with preventive care that includes flossing and brushing with dental products that have fluoride, using a fluoride mouthwash, eating a diet that is balanced, organising children's oral hygiene besides making sure that fluoridated products and water are used. The best way to enable good oral hygiene is with proper brushing of the teeth and flossing. The toothbrush should be held at the gumline at a 45-degree angle and brushed gently in a rolling or a sweeping motion that would cover the entire tooth. The inside, the chewing surfaces, the outside and the back of the teeth should be brushed with strokes that go back and forth.