A healthy mouth absolutely provides us nutrition for the physical body, but more importantly, it also improves our social interaction and encourages self-esteem.
Our mouth serves as a “window” to the rest of the body, providing signals of general health diseases. For example, pale or bleeding gums can be a sign of blood disorders or low bone level in the lower jaw might be an early sign of osteoporosis. Poor oral health is significantly associated with major chronic diseases.
Evidence from population-based studies significantly concludes a robust connection between poor oral health and cardiovascular disease, diabetes, kidney disease, oral cancer, adverse pregnancy outcomes, stomach ulcers, obesity and many more health diseases.
Two main diseases which affect our Oral Health are Dental Caries (bacterial invasion of the tooth which demineralizes its surface and results in holes) and Gum Disease(bacterial invasion along the gum line causing an inflammatory response damaging the tissues and bones that support the teeth.)
8 Tips to prevent tooth decay and gum disease:
1. Brush your teeth twice a day. Don’t underestimate its importance. This is a simple step that should never be overlooked. Brushing your teeth in the morning and more importantly again at night is important to remove plaque build-up and bacteria that lead to tooth decay and periodontal disease. The Modifies Bass technique where you should hold the brush head at 45 degrees angle, partly on the gums, and gently move the brush in tiny circular motions or small horizontal strokes 20 times on each tooth shall improve your oral hygiene significantly. Note: Do not brush too vigorously as it can damage your gums and teeth.
2. Floss daily. Your brushing is not complete without flossing. Floss can reach the crevices too small for your brush bristles, so it’s a necessary step for a clean mouth.
3. Oral Irrigators. These are newer cleaning aids which pump water in a steady or pulsating manner and flushing out food and bacterial byproducts.
4. Skip the sugar. Sugary and starchy foods cause are action in your mouth that leads to tooth decay. Sugar reacts with the bacteria in your saliva to form an acid that erodes your tooth enamel, the outer protective layer of your teeth.
5. Swish with mouthwash. For an added boost to your oral hygiene routine, rinse with an anti-bacterial mouthwash which is prescribed by your dentist.
6. Use fluoride toothpaste. Fluoride helps strengthen your tooth enamel to combat tooth decay.
7. Brush your tongue. Don’t neglect your tongue! Your tongue harbour's bacteria too, so use your toothbrush or a tongue scraper to give it a cleaning.
8. Pay attention to your mouth and gums. Note when your gums look inflamed or if you spot blood while brushing. Don’t ignore aches and pains. Consult your dentist to make sure it’s not a symptom of something serious.
Parents play a very important role in making sure that oral hygiene practices are taught early in childhood. Restrict bottle feeding to meal times. Avoid putting your baby to sleep with a bottle. The milk or juice that pools in the mouth will bathe teeth in the sugars on which bacteria feed. Before their teeth grow in, get your baby accustomed to regular oral care by wiping their gums twice per day with a clean, soft, thin cloth, such as a handkerchief.
After your baby’s teeth erupt, switch to a baby toothbrush moistened with water. Don't use toothpaste until your child is old enough to spit it out. Swallowing toothpaste while their teeth are developing can cause a condition called fluorosis, which occurs from absorbing too much fluoride and causes their teeth to look mottled or grainy.
Your smile is one of the first things people notice. Good Oral Health changes far more than your outward appearance. It renews your confidence. It changes the way you view yourself. What’s more? it changes the way others see you.