Oral Health Problems and Dental Hygiene

You will surely agree with me that a healthy smile is a bonus at any given age. Oral health is the practice of keeping your teeth and mouth clean to avoid dental problems such as bad breath, gingivitis and dental cavities. You don’t have to own any degree or certificate in oral health to keep your mouth and teeth clean and healthy, you only need the basics such as knowing how to identify the common oral ailments and some common oral health practices.

Common oral diseases and ailments

– Bad breath: bad breath, also called halitosis, can be really embarrassing. Bad breath is usually associated with certain dental conditions. Gum disease, oral cancer, cavities, bacteria on the tongue and dry mouth are some of the problems that cause bad breath. Using mouthwash only covers the odor for a while but you do need to see a dental doctor for a comprehensive checkup.

– Tooth decay: also known as cavities, is the second most common oral problem. Tooth decay develops when plague combines with sugars or starches found in foods we eat. The combination forms acids that attack the tooth enamel. The best practice to prevent tooth decay is by flossing, brushing twice a day and attending regular dental checkups.

– Gum (periodontal) disease: studies reveal that gum disease is linked to strokes and heart attacks. Regular checkups, daily brushing and flossing play a major role on controlling the ailment.

– Oral cancer: this is a serious and quite deadly disease that ails millions of people. Oral cancer affects the mouth, throat or lips and can be effectively controlled if diagnosed in the early stage.

– Mouth sores: They do come in different shapes and sizes and can be quite bothersome. They are however not a serious medical disorder and you don’t need to worry about them unless they last for over two weeks. They usually disappear after a short while. The commonest mouth sores are fever blisters, canker sore, cold sores, thrush and ulcers.

– Tooth sensitivity is basically the experiencing of discomfort or pain on the teeth from contact with cold air, sweets, hot drinks, ice cream or cold drinks. In extreme cases, tooth sensitivity can be experienced even during brushing or flossing.

– Dry mouth, also known as Xerostomia, is a condition that causes drying in the mouth and results in difficulty to swallow, eat, speak or taste. This dryness results from the failure of the salivary glands to work properly. Luckily, there is treatment readily available if most of the local dental clinics.

Best oral health practices

Most dental diseases and general ailments result from bad dental practices and failure to observe routine medical and hygiene routines. Good oral health practices helps greatly in cutting down the occurrence of bacterial, fungal and other related disease.

These practices include:

– regular brushing using appropriate brushing techniques, twice a day is the most recommended.

– flossing daily

– eating balanced diet and limiting intake of sugary snacks and foods

– rinsing your mouth with a fluoride mouthwash as may be advised by the dentist.

– use of dental products with fluoride as one of the ingredients, including toothpaste

– provide plenty of milk in the diet to supplement calcium for strengthening the teeth.

– avoid smoking as it can cause oral cancer, bad breath, stained teeth and other dental complications

Observing the above oral health practices in addition to regular dental checkups highly reduces the cases of chronic dental disease attacks and general ailments. It is worth noting that poor oral health can adversely affect the health condition of other body parts and should therefore be closely monitored and remedied where necessary.

Pediatric Oral Health Tips

According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), tooth decay is one of the most common chronic infectious diseases among U.S. children.  This is a preventable health problem that begins early.  28% of children aged 2-5 years have already had decay in their primary or baby teeth.  By the time they reach 11 years of age, approximately half of children have experienced decay.  By the age of 19, tooth decay in permanent teeth affects two-thirds or 68% of adolescents.  Low-income children have twice as much untreated decay than children in families with higher incomes.  Problems such as pain, dysfunction, underweight, and poor appearance can result greatly reducing a child’s capacity to succeed in the educational environment.

A healthy smile is a good indication of a happy child.  Oral health experts are all in agreement that developing healthy smiles in children should start in infancy.  CDC experts have promoted a set of pediatric oral health tips that if followed will significantly prevent tooth decay in any child and save the child from suffering embarrassment.

Pediatric Oral Health Tips

Start early.  As soon as the first tooth appears, start with wiping to clean it every day with a clean, damp cloth.  When more teeth come in, switch to a small, soft toothbrush.  You can start using toothpaste with fluoride when the child is 2 years old and if your doctor recommends it you can use toothpaste with fluoride even earlier.  Do not let a child under the age of 6 use fluoride mouth rinse unless the child’s doctor or dentist recommends it.

Check with your child’s doctor or dentist about the specific fluoride requirements of your child.  At age 2, most children are getting the right amount of fluoride to help prevent cavities if they drink water that contains fluoride and brush their teeth two times daily with a very small amount of toothpaste with fluoride.  If the drinking water does not have enough fluoride parents of children 6 months and older should ask about the need for a fluoride supplement.

It was known that fluoride is an important element for the fight against cavities. But for children younger than 6 years old, swallowing too much fluoride may be detrimental to his/her health. Fluoride can cause white spots to appear in the child’s permanent teeth. Always advise your child to use only a small amount of toothpaste (approximately the size of a pea) and tell your child not to swallow but spit out the toothpaste and rinse thoroughly after brushing.

Always supervise your child.  Until such time that the child is able to correctly use his/her own toothbrush you should brush your child’s teeth twice a day.  After that you should continue to keep a watchful eye to make sure the child is doing a thorough job and using only a small amount of toothpaste.

As a parent be a good role model to your child by practicing good oral health care habits. And schedule regular dental visits for checkups and cleanings.

Check your child’s mouth for the signs of periodontal disease.  Symptoms include bleeding gums, swollen and bright red gums or gums that are receding away from the teeth and bad breath.

Sedation Technique And Sedation Methods

If your child becomes anxious or panics at the sight of a dentist or just a thought of visiting a dentist office you may consider using a sedation technique in order to relax him/her through the dental procedure.

Consult with the doctor to determine the best method to help reduce your child’s stress level.  There are several types of dental sedation methods being used by sedation dentists.  They are oral sedatives, nitrous oxide sedation, intravenous (IV) sedation and general anesthesia.  All of these methods provide sedation on varying degrees.

Good Nutrition is Essential to Good Oral Health

Oral health: is the term used to refer to the health of the mouth. It is the term used to refer to the overall hygiene of the mouth. This includes the teeth, gums and tongue. This is a very important part of the body because it can affect our communication with people. A bad oral heath can be due to poor dental hygiene but can also be caused due to various illnesses.

Whenever a patient visits a doctor, after discussing the symptoms the doctor asks the patient to stick out the tongue. Why is it so? This is because the oral condition can tell the doctor a lot about the patient’s health. A poor oral health can mean that the patient could be suffering from diabetes, HIV/AIDS or some other eating disorders. Also, poor oral health can be due to cold sores, fungal infection, canker sores, dry mouth syndrome and oral cancer.

However, sometimes the causes of a poor oral health are not any major illnesses but only poor oral hygiene. And this poor hygiene cause bad health in turn. It is like a vicious cycle.

Good nutrition not only keeps us healthy and hence reflects in our oral health, but also results in a good oral health. Following is the list of nutrients for good oral hygiene:

Vitamin A: Lack of this can cause overgrown gums, bleeding gums and other gums diseases. This is found in green leafy vegetables.

Vitamin B Complex: Lack of this vitamin can cause cracking and bleeding of lips. It can also lead to sores and lesions in the mouth which can further cause infections. This can spread to the rest of the body through blood. It can be found in whole grains and dark green vegetables.

Vitamin C: This brings in oxygen and nutrients via the capillaries and improves oral health. Lack of this can cause bleeding gums. This can be found in citrus fruits.

Calcium and Vitamin D: These help maintain healthy teeth which are strong too. The calcium and vitamin D gets absorbed in the teeth and hence gives strength to the teeth. After a certain age these two are added in prescription for daily intake. Calcium can be found in milk and bananas. Vitamin D is absorbed by exposure to sun.

Copper, Zinc, Iron, Iodine and Potassium: These are also a few minerals essential for good oral health.

Copper is found in legumes, nuts, sea food, raisins, molasses and soybeans.

Zinc is found in Brewer’s yeast, liver, soybeans, spinach, mushrooms and sunflower seeds.

Iron is found in red meat, liver, iron rich cereals, beef, whole grains, spinach, and dry fruits. Avoid intake of tea with iron as it reduces iron absorption in the body.

Iodine can be obtained from iodized salt, sea food and kelp.

Potassium is found in bananas, figs, apricot, dates, raisins and tomato juice.

Fluoride: This is found in toothpastes and when used strengthens the enamel of the teeth. This works with calcium and phosphorus and prevents tooth decay too.