Moving forward with a smile : the importance of Oral Hygiene
Oral hygiene is essential for general health and quality of life. Oral health gives clues about one’s overall health or about the problems that can affect the rest of the body. Oral cavity collects all sorts of bacteria, virus and fungi. Some belong there making up the natural flora of the mouth and are generally harmless in small quantities. Some other bacteria near the gumline thrive in matrix known as plaque, which over a period of time; hardens and migrates down the length of the teeth and can inflame the gums resulting in gingivitis. If pathogens overgrow in the mouth, they can also transfer to blood vessels and then distant parts of the body.
Alarming Facts !!
- Oral health might contribute to various diseases and conditions, such as Cardiovascular disease, Pregnancy and birth complications, Pneumonia, etc.
- Osteoporosis, the bone-weakening disease is linked with periodontal bone loss and tooth loss.
- In Alzheimer’s disease, worsening oral health is seen as disease progresses.
- It is estimated that about 50% of school children are suffering from dental caries. And more than 90% of adults are affected by periodontal diseases.
- In the Global Burden of Disease Study, it was found that oral diseases were highly prevalent affecting 390 Crore people worldwide.
- The age standardized incidence of oral cancer in India is 12.6 per 100,000 population.
- In India, 19 % are toothless in the age range of 65-74 years.
- Individuals with diabetes are more likely to have periodontal disease than people without it because they’re more susceptible to contracting infections overall.
Causes of poor oral health
Lifestyle and Environmental factors are the major cause for poor Oral Health which also includes our diet and nutrition habits like:
- Fermentable carbohydrates
- Refined and processed or canned food.
- Frequent consumption of acidic food
- Tobacco use in smoked and smokeless forms
- Alcohol use
- Micronutrient deficiencies such as vitamin C, vitamin D, antioxidants and lower serum magnesium/calcium levels
There is always a connection between declining oral health and underlying systemic conditions. Maintaining health teeth and gums is a lifelong commitment. The earlier one adopts proper oral hygiene habits such as brushing, flossing and rinsing with a mouthwash, the easier it will be to avoid long term health issues. By adopting a good oral hygiene routine, maintaining a low-in-sugar diet and regular visits to a dental professional, one can reduce the risk of diseases.