Thousands of years ago, we never thought to brush our teeth and yet we do now – why is that? The progression of dental hygiene has come an extremely long way, helping to better protect our teeth against potentially harmful factors.
Keep reading to find out how and why things have changed in our oral hygiene habits.
How did Cavemen care for their teeth?
The oral hygiene routine of individuals in centuries past looks vastly different to how it is now. The earliest forms of dental care included fashioning “toothbrushes” from twigs (known as “chew sticks”) or animal bones and creating “toothpaste” from abrasives such as talc and adding essential oils.
Dental routines didn’t need to be quite so rigorous due to having diets with low processed and high fibre, nutrient-dense foods which limits the accumulation of plaque and bacteria. However, things have since developed with changes to diet and lifestyle.
Why is brushing your teeth so important now?
Now, brushing our teeth every morning and night has become a habit we often don’t think twice about. Brushing teeth grew in popularity and frequency during World War II when it was a requirement for soldiers to have a good oral hygiene routine.
So, why has it become so incredibly necessary to prioritise your oral health? There has been a drastic change in diet and lifestyle habits today that are harmful to your teeth and gums.
Let’s take a look:
- Changes to diet – With the increased production of processed foods packed with refined sugar; our teeth are now exposed to more ingredients that trigger tooth decay.
- Smoking – Smoking has grown into a common habit and not only causes tooth staining, but can be a catalyst for oral cancers and infections too.
- Carbonated drinks – Soft and fizzy drinks have become a frequent part of today’s diet. These drinks are highly acidic and can weaken the tooth enamel leading to cavities.
The best way to look after your teeth
Brushing your teeth twice a day isn’t the only way to help take care of your teeth and gums.
Below are some of the best ways to supplement your daily oral hygiene routine:
- Eat a balanced diet – Eating a balanced diet with limited processed, high sugar foods and carbonated drinks will limit exposure to acidic ingredients that attack tooth enamel.
- Floss daily – Brushing your teeth is great, but sometimes the bristles miss plaque build-up between teeth. Flossing can get into those hard to reach places and give you a whole mouth clean.
- Exercise – It seems odd to relate exercise to teeth, but a surplus in calories can lead to indigestion and gastric issues. This produces an acid build-up in the stomach which can rise to the oral cavity and cause demineralisation.
Gone are the days of experimenting with urine as mouthwash to disinfect or brushing our teeth with twigs, modern dentistry has advanced to meet the cleaning efforts required to keep up with today’s lifestyle.
The best way to take care of your teeth is to make regular visits to your dentist.
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