A senior bureaucrat, a patient of mine approached me last week and complained of unbearable pain in 3 of his molars, he said that because of the pain he hasn’t been chewing his food well and feels bloated after lunch at work. He was not at peace and said that he had been experiencing pain for almost a month now but only approached for help when he couldn’t bear it. When I asked him on why he didn’t approach me earlier as we could have nipped the bud, he said that there are far too many “VIP organs” inside the body to take care of, teeth are anyways “passive” and “non-critical”.

Well he aptly put the general sentiment about Oral hygiene forth. While preventive treatment has started to gather awareness among us, we still have a lot of catching up to do in dental care.

What we fail to realize that dental/oral care is relatively simpler, cheaper, very engaging, and can prevent a host of more critical diseases.

Inflamed gums and aggravated teeth badly impair the ability to masticate food. This results in whole grains being gulped. Body cannot effectively synthesize improperly chewed food and hence cannot draw nutrients from food. Further, un-chewed food cannot be digested and results in improper bowels, constipation. This results in general disinterest and frustration in life and at work. This is in ong term can have damaging impact on liver and kidney.

Diabetes is a condition which can get triggered by poor lifestyle among a host of other reasons. Poor health of the gums can further complicate diabetes. Inflamed gums impair the body’s ability to utilize insulin which is responsible to regulate and control sugar level in the blood. 

Endocarditis is an infection of the inner lining of the heart. It’s caused when bacteria and germs especially from the mouth travel through the blood stream and get attached to the damaged area of the heart. Some of the researches have gone on to suggest that clogged arteries and strokes may be linked to infection caused by oral bacteria. 

Periodontitis can have very harmful impact on to-be-moms. It has been linked to improper fetus development, premature birth, and ultimately low birth weight.

A whole lot of other diseases have been linked to oral and dental health. While the repercussions of ignoring oral health can be severe, the good news is that the prevention is relatively simple and can easily be amalgamated in lifestyle.

Remember the age old adage – Brush twice daily, well that one still holds good!

Smoking and chewing severely hamper oral health. They create acidic layer on the enamel and ultimately erode it, exposing dentine and making teeth highly sensitive. Chewing results in abraded and bruised teeth resulting in pain, sensitivity and hampered chewing ability. Moderate or rather shun these habits. There are far healthier things to adopt.

Replace your brush every 3 months or when bristles start to loose “form”. Your dentist can recommend brush with special soft bristles which is especially effective for people with sensitive teeth, kids, and the elderly. Your dentist can also recommend and demonstrate usage of inter-dental brushes, these can be used twice a month on weekends. These are very good for cleaning and clearing stuck food particles.

Flossing is a great habit, ask your dentist to recommend you a good floss and demonstrate its usage.

And finally, it’s a great idea to catch up with your dentist at least twice a year.