Oral health affects our lives in ways that are often taken for granted. Our mouth can reflect the overall health of our body, showing signs of infection or diseases before we experience other symptoms. It’s a commonly overlooked aspect of health management, but one that is crucial to our well being.
Step 1: Understand your own oral health needs
Changes in overall health status often result in changes in oral health. “For example, many medicines can reduce the amount of saliva formation in the mouth, resulting in dry mouth,
Women who are pregnant go through oral changes. This often includes inflammation of the gums, which is called pregnancy gingivitis. Patients with asthma often breathe through their mouths, particularly when sleeping. This can result in dry mouth and increased plaque formation and gingivitis. People with braces have more difficulty cleaning their teeth and can get more cavities.”
Step 2: Commit to a daily oral health routine
Cleanse your mouth daily after every meal with warm saline rinses or chlorhexidine mouthwash and do brushing twice, especially at night to prevent acidic bacteria attack over the tooth. Do visit your dentist regularly for a checkup.
Step 3: Use fluoride products
Everyone can benefit from fluoride, not just children. Fluoride strengthens developing teeth in children. It also helps prevent decay in adults and children. Toothpaste and mouthwashes are good sources of fluoride.
Step 4: Brush and floss to remove plaque
Everyone should brush and floss correctly and thoroughly after every meal. We need to remove plaque from all sides of the tooth and where the tooth meets the gums. Plaque is a complex mass of bacteria that constantly forms on our teeth. If plaque isn’t removed every day, it can turn the sugars found in most foods and drinks into acids that lead to decay. Bacteria in plaque also cause gingivitis and other periodontal diseases.
Step 5: Limit snacks, particularly those high in simple sugars, and eat a balanced diet
Every time we eat, bits of food become lodged in and around our teeth. This food provides fuel for the bacteria in plaque. The bacteria produce acid and teeth are exposed to acids. This happens when we take sugary starch snacks. These repeated acid attacks can break down the enamel surface of your teeth, leading to a cavity. A balanced diet is essential for oral and general health.
Step 6: If you use tobacco in any form, quit
Smoking or using smokeless tobacco increases our risk of oral cancer, gingivitis, periodontitis and tooth decay. Using tobacco also contributes to bad breath and stains on our teeth.
A regular examination is particularly important for tobacco users, who are at increased risk of developing oral cancer.
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Reported by Dr. Himani