Everyone’s oral health is extremely important for many reasons. If a person has poor oral health or suffers from dental anxiety they could develop decay, broken teeth, abscesses, gum disease, bone loss, bad breath, and tooth loss. Poor oral health can negatively affect a person’s smile in many ways.
A person’s oral health doesn’t just affect their teeth and gums it can also affect their overall health. Poor oral health can lead to infected teeth and gums. This infection can begin to make its way to other body parts through the bloodstream. Diseases like diabetes, cancer, arthritis, dementia, and Alzheimer’s can worsen if a person is suffering from an infection caused by poor oral health.
How does a person achieve good oral health?
Good oral health begins with good at-home oral hygiene. There are several things a person can do at home that will help them achieve and maintain good oral health. Some of these include:
1. Brushing the teeth at least twice a day –
When a person eats, plaque begins to develop on their teeth. Plaque is made up of bacteria. If plaque is not properly removed the bacteria eats away at the protective outer layer of the teeth called enamel. When the enamel is eaten away, holes develop in the tooth called cavities. In order to avoid cavities, a person must properly brush their teeth at least twice a day for at least two minutes. Removing the plaque daily helps keep the teeth cavity-free.
2. Floss once a day –
When a person brushes their teeth, the bristles on the brush cannot reach the areas between the teeth. Also, plaque that makes its way below the gum line cannot be removed with a toothbrush. This is where plaque loves to hide and cause damage. The only way to remove plaque between the teeth and below the gum line is to floss.
3. Use fluoride –
Fluoride that is found in many kinds of toothpaste and certain mouthwashes can help strengthen tooth enamel. The stronger tooth enamel is, the more protected a tooth will become.
4. Consume less sugary foods and drinks –
Sodas, sweetened coffees, juice, candy, and other foods that contain a lot of sugar can cause damage to a person’s oral health. Most dentists or Dental Hygienists and Dental Assistants recommend a person limit these sugary drinks and foods or rinse with water to help prevent the sugars from lingering in the mouth. Bacteria that sit in the mouth feed off the leftover sugar and produce acid that eats away at tooth enamel. If left the bacteria will eventually cause decay.
5. Stop smoking, vaping, or chewing tobacco –
Products that contain tobacco affects a person’s immune system and make it harder for the body to heal. Also, smoking causes blood vessels to constrict which slows down the healing process. Smoking has also been linked to gum disease. Gum disease that is left untreated can lead to bone loss and other dental problems.
6. Drink more water –
Drinking water helps dilute the acids left by bacteria in the mouth and helps flush out debris and plaque. Water also helps fight dry mouth. When a person has a dry mouth, due to a lack of saliva, they become more prone to cavities and other dental problems. Sipping on water throughout the day can help keep the mouth moist and plaque-free.
How seeing the dentist regularly can affect oral health
Even if a person has perfect at-home oral hygiene it’s important for them to see their dentist on a regular basis. Making and keeping routine dental appointments is the best choice a person can make to ensure they will achieve and maintain good oral health. Each dentist as well as his or her team is trained in the latest techniques that can help a person achieve optimal oral health.
When a person sees a dental professional for routine cleanings they receive a deeper cleaning which helps to keep their teeth and gums healthy. At the cleaning appointment, the dental professional will clean the teeth with special instruments and will also evaluate the gums to ensure they are infection-free. The dental professional will also provide for each patient instructions on how to keep their teeth and gums healthy.
Once the cleaning is completed the dentist will evaluate the patient’s entire mouth. He or she will check the teeth for decay, cracks, or mobility. He or she will also evaluate the soft tissue of the mouth. This includes the cheeks, gums, tongue, and palate of the mouth. This is done to check for any abnormalities that may be indicators of other oral and overall health issues.
Once the dentist has completed the exam, he or she will provide for each patient a treatment plan that will address their individual needs. It’s important for each person to get the treatment that is recommended. Neglecting the teeth and postponing treatment can lead to more problems. Cavities that are small but are left untreated can turn into major issues and can lead to infection. Also, gingivitis that is left untreated can develop into periodontal disease which can eventually cause bone loss and tooth loss.
If you are concerned about your oral health it’s important to know that it’s never too late. The best choice for your oral health is to not neglect it or postpone the care it needs. Caring for your oral health is just as important as caring for your overall health. Contact your local dentist today to learn more about how to make good choices concerning your oral health. Your mouth will thank you for it.