5 Steps to Good Oral Health
Cavities and gum disease may contribute to many serious conditions, including heart disease, diabetes, respiratory diseases, and premature and low weight babies.
Good oral health is not only important to our appearance but also to our overall health. Cavities and gum disease may contribute to many serious conditions, including heart disease, diabetes, respiratory diseases, and premature and low weight babies. Untreated cavities can also be painful and lead to serious infections.
In order to maintain a good oral hygiene you need to keep the teeth free from cavities and prevent gum diseases. Poor oral health can affect your appearance and self-esteem, due to discoloration and halitosis; it has been linked to sleeping problems. In children it can cause behavioral and developmental problems. Poor oral health can also affect your ability to chew and digest food properly resulting in malnourishment.
A good and proper nutrition is important to build strong teeth and gums that can resist disease and promote healing.
Smoking is a major risk factor for oral and dental disease, it causes oral cancer. Tobacco reduces blood flow to the gums therefore, the gums are deprived of proper oxygen supply and nutrients needed to stay healthy and prevent bacterial infection.
Good oral health should be a priority in all stages of life, in order to sustain the teeth till old age. However, older adults may have less access to good oral health care services and dentists because of lack of dental insurance.
Seniors living in long-term care facilities are at particular risk of complications from poor oral health because of frailty, poor health and increased dependence on others for personal care. In many cases, oral health problems in residents go undetected until there are acute symptoms, such as pain or infection.
Besides pain and discomfort, poor oral health can also contribute to a number of serious health issues.
5 Steps to Good Oral Health
As part of a healthy lifestyle, it’s important to reduce the risk of oral diseases, by following these 5 steps you can achieve good oral hygiene.
1. See your dentist regularly
Regular checkups and professional prophylaxis are the best way to prevent dental problems or to treat any dental alignment at it’s earliest. Your dentist will look for signs of oral disease and any dental cavities. Oral diseases often go unnoticed and may lead to serious health problems, some pre cancerous lesions often get detected by dentist when the patient comes for check up.
Only your dentist has the training, skill and expertise to diagnose and treat oral health diseases and to meet all your oral health care needs.
2. Practice good oral hygiene
You can use a soft-bristle toothbrush to brush your teeth and brush at least twice daily with fluoride toothpaste to remove plaque and bacteria that cause cavities and periodontal disease (gum disease) fluoride has the tendency to prevent teeth from proximal caries.
Make flossing your habit and do it regularly. If you don’t floss, you are not cleaning more than a third of your tooth surface. When choosing oral care products look for the Canadian Dental Association (CDA) Seal of Recognition.
3. Eat a well-balanced diet
Healthy food is good for your general health and your oral health. The nutrients that come from healthy foods help you to fight cavities and gum disease.
Drink fluoridated water, but excess fluoride in the drinking water can damage teeth and bones. Fluoride’s protection against tooth decay works at all ages. Avoid excess sugar especially sticky candies. It is one of the main causes of dental problems.
Heavy use of alcohol is also a risk factor for oral and throat cancers. When used alone, alcohol and tobacco are risk factors for oral cancers, but when used in combination the effects of alcohol and tobacco are even greater.
Adults should avoid junk food and snacks with high sugar content and starches. Limit the number of snacks eaten throughout the day. The recommended five-a-day helping of fiber-rich fruits and vegetables stimulates salivary flow to aid re-mineralization of tooth surfaces with early stages of tooth decay.
Diabetic patients should take extra care to maintain good oral hygiene, they should visit dentist frequently to detect any periodontal changes. They are more prone to lose teeth due to high risk of periodontal infections. They should maintain their sugar levels, within the normal range.
4. Check your mouth regularly
Look for warning signs of periodontal disease (gum disease). Gum disease is one of the main reasons why adults lose their teeth. The warning signs include:
- Red, shiny, puffy, sore or sensitive gums
- Bleeding when you brush or floss
- Halitosis or bad breath
- Look for warning signs of oral cancer. The 3 most common sites for oral cancer are the tissues adjacent to molars, sides and bottom of the tongue and the floor of your mouth.
Some clinical signs of precancerous lesion
- Bleeding from the sores
- Open sores that don’t heal within 7 to 10 days
- White or red patches
- Numbness or tingling
- Small lumps and thickening on the sides or bottom of your tongue, the floor or roof of your mouth, the inside of your cheeks or on your gums.
Report any of these warning signs to your dentist.
5. Don’t smoke or chew tobacco
Smoking and chewing tobacco are dangerous to your oral health and your overall health.
Tobacco use is a major cause of tooth loss through gum disease and may lead to serious problems like oral cancer. Tobacco can cause heart disease and a variety of cancers.
If you take care of your teeth and gums at home and visit your dentist regularly, your smile should last you a lifetime.
Steps to help your child maintain good oral health
- Establish good oral health habits early. When your child is 12 months old, you can begin using toothpaste, when brushing his or her teeth. However, only use a pea-sized portion on the brush and apply it on the bristles so your child won’t eat it.
- Serve as a good role model by practicing good oral health care habits yourself.
- Schedule regular dental visits for family checkups and periodontal evaluations
- Check your child’s mouth for the signs of periodontal disease, including bleeding gums, swollen and bright red gums, gums that are receding away from the teeth and bad breath.
The connection between good oral health and overall health
Our mouth contain large flora of microorganisms, some are harmful. You can keep these harmful bacteria under control with good oral health care, such as daily brushing and flossing. Saliva is also a key defense against bacteria and viruses. It contains enzymes that destroy bacteria in different ways. But harmful bacteria can sometimes grow out of control and lead to periodontitis, a serious gum infection.
When your gums are healthy, bacteria in your mouth usually don’t enter your bloodstream. However, gum disease may provide bacteria a port of entry into your bloodstream. Sometimes invasive dental treatments can also allow bacteria to enter your bloodstream, and ultimately to the heart causing heart attack.
Some medications or treatments like chemotherapy and radiotherapy used to treat cancer patients reduce saliva flow or disrupt the normal balance of bacteria in your mouth leading to oral changes, making it easier for bacteria to enter your bloodstream.
Some researchers believe that these bacteria and inflammation from your mouth are linked to other health problems in the rest of your body.
Categories: Oral Hygiene
Topics: Tags: bacteria, bacterial infection, bad breath, bleeding, bleeding gums, blood, body, brushing, brushing and flossing, cavities