“Good health begins with the mouth”
For many of us, one of the features we are attracted to in persons we meet and like is the smile. In fact it is often the pick-up line used by men and women, “you have a beautiful smile” and “you have a perfect set of teeth”. It is a good investment to ensure that you take care of your oral health.
We are so accustomed to referring to dental health. Oral health gives a better representation as it refers to not only teeth but also gum, tongue and in fact the entire mouth. Some common problems include:
- Bad breath
- Dental decay/caries
- Broken teeth, tooth loss due to trauma
- Dry mouth
- Gum disease/periodontitis
- Sensitive teeth
The link between the health of your mouth and physical health
The health of your mouth can reveal early warning signs of problems with your general health. Here are a few examples:
- Thrush or candidiasis is a red flag for a suppressed immune system among other diseases.
- Bleeding gums can be due to inflammation which results from a build-up of bacteria. Bleeding gums also occurs when there is a blood disorder.
- Halitosis the clinical name for bad breath can be a sign of dyspepsia or acid reflux. Overgrowth of bacterial on the teeth and gums can give bad breath. Of note some foods, spices and tobacco use can give the breath an unpleasant odor.
It has also been established that there is a link between chronic gum infections (gingivitis) and some of the chronic diseases namely:
- Heart disease: germs from the mouth can enter the blood and affect the inner lining of the heart (endocarditis).
- Diabetes: uncontrolled blood sugar puts diabetics at risk of gum disease.
- Bone loss: weak and brittle bone can also manifest as tooth loss.
- HIV/AIDS: the suppressed immune system promotes fungal overgrowth and ulcers in the mouth.
- Alzheimer’s disease: it has been suggested that early tooth loss before age 35yr might be a risk factor for this disease.
Pregnant smokers can have premature labor and the new born is often underweight.
Signs of poor Oral Health
- Stained teeth
- Bad breath
- Bleeding gums even with light brushing
- Loose/shaking teeth
Tips for improving the health of your mouth
Visit the dentist
- First of all, have a dental health check-up twice yearly
- If fear and anxiety about the check-up has been keeping you away, discuss this with the dentist who will be able to help you through this.
Daily care for the mouth
- Flossing daily is still highly recommended
- Brush at a 45 degrees angle for the gum line using up and down strokes. Do so at least twice daily.
- Mouth wash to disinfect, or as a fluoride rinse are options.
- Change the toothbrush every three (3) months and after any bout of illness especially the flu or common cold
Healthy lifestyle habits
- Increase daily portions of fruits and vegetables
- Calcium rich food will help to strengthen the enamel of teeth
If you have not had a dental check up in the last 6 months, schedule an appointment now. For every issue you may be having with your mouth, there is a solution. Procedures range from a comprehensive cleaning of the teeth, repair of a broken or decaying tooth to the high tech procedure of dental implants to replace missing teeth.
Readers Bureau, Contributor
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