Oral Hygiene and Total Health

October 09, 2008

Oral Health refers to the health of our mouth, which includes the teeth, gums and supporting tissues. It is the area mostly used and widely neglected. It is so because after our regularly brushing we take the rest for granted. You have healthy teeth and gums if you can smile confidently without the fear of yellow teeth with debris, eat confidently without being scared of dental pain or bleeding and laugh out not causing bad breath.

We all know that our teeth captures a lot of attention for you as you smile. Your teeth also gives your face its shape, enables you to eat and speak the way you want to. The most common oral problems are cavities and gum disease. They are usually the result of poor oral hygiene. Our sense of hygiene contributes to your overall health. Practicing oral hygiene or taking preventive care doesn’t drain money, time or energy. All you have to do is be regular and consistent.

  1. Brush your teeth in the morning and at bed time. Sorry, no toothpaste for under 2!
  2. Floss your teeth everyday.
  3. Use dental products that contain fluoride.
  4. Limit sweets and sugars.
  5. Eat a balanced diet.
  6. Remember calcium for teeth.
  7. Stop chewing tobacco and quit smoking.
  8. Ask your doctor if your medicines have any ill effects on your teeth. Some medicines can have side effects like dry mouth.
  9. Be aware. Check regularly for sores or unusual changes inside your mouth. Contact your dentist if you find any.
  10. Regular visit to your dentist for teeth cleaning or otherwise.

These steps would certainly reduce your chances of getting gum diseases or teeth decay. The build-up plaque and tartar in the teeth, if not removed regularly can lead to cavities or disease like periodontist or gingivitis.

The tissues in your mouth can indicate your overall health.

Mouth is the first place where most of the diseases manifest themselves. Regular oral exams not only check your dental health they also indicate your general health. Medical conditions like diabetes, HIV, certain eating disorders, systemic diseases etc. can be thus detected.

  • Gum disease and Cardiovascular health. Experts say that the blood stream may carry bacteria from your gum disease to the heart. This can have adverse effects on your cardiovascular system.
  • Gum disease and premature birth. Even the placenta can be affected by the bacteria from a pregnant woman’s mouth leading to premature delivery.
  • Gum disease and Diabetes- Gum disease, cavities, tooth loss, dry mouth, and a variety of oral infections stem from diabetes in many people. The blood sugar level can rise with infections and require more insulin to keep it under control. Thus lack of oral hygiene can poor oral health can worsen your diabetes.
  • Teeth loss and Osteoporosis. Teeth loss can be the first sign of Osteoporosis.

The importance of oral health and hygiene should be inculcated as early as in childhood. Children should be made aware that lack of oral health would bring about a lot of discomforts in the life ahead. He or she may end up with a lot of painful and unpleasant oral cavities, tooth loss and money loss!

- Aparna K V

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