The most-reported oral health concern is ‘Toothache’ and for many reasons, not too far from what we already discussed is the self-medication that follows toothaches. And substantially because toothaches are at times perceived to be of low importance on the list of oral health concerns, and therefore many oral health concerns will only require the services of a dentist when they are unbearable or unresponsive to pain relievers. This is most prevalent in the developing world where ‘prescription-only’ medications can be bought over the counter, some of the drugs used for self-medication worldwide are pain relievers and antibiotics, the former has raised concerns of addiction in the opioid class and the latter has fueled the ever-growing problem of bacterial resistance.
What can be done?
We have discussed measures that involved tighter control on medicines and cultural change. But isn’t it even smarter to take measures to improve oral health so that we reduce the incidence of needing medicines?
Oral self-care: Measures to improve oral health include:
1. Brush your teeth regularly: The physical action of expelling food particles from in-between the teeth prevents the buildup of bacteria. Brush three times a day, choose your toothbrush wisely, and know when to replace it. Soft-bristled toothbrushes are the best option to clean your teeth without inflicting damage to gum or eroding tooth enamel layers. It is advisable to change your toothbrush every three months.
2. Antibacterial mouthwashes: Using mouthwashes can go a long way and provide a formidable defense against bacteria that causes cavities.
3. Flossing: This is an important part of oral hygiene. It removes food stuck in tight spaces in between the teeth which areas are hard to reach for the toothbrushes and prevent cavities.
4. Stop smoking: This is to prevent tooth discoloration and bad breath. Smoking can also weaken teeth.
5. Limit your coffee intake: Coffee and many other dark-colored drinks can stain teeth, coffee also contains acids that will wear out the enamel leading to problematic teeth sensitivity.
6. Eat a nutritious diet: Eating apples has been known to help clean teeth.
7. Decrease sugar intake: Bacteria love sugar and the buildup of bacteria makes the likelihood of antibacterial use more likely. But you can stop it in its tracks by ensuring lower sugar intake.
8. Clove oil: In case of aches, it’s a natural pain reliever that may help numb and reduce pain to ease a toothache.
9. Make scheduled visits to your dentist: There are high chances that the trained eyes will see what you won’t so cover the bases and see a dentist once in a while

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