Sore Throat and Bleeding Gums? Your Oral Hygiene Might Play A Role
Before firing off a handshake to strangers, at a business lunch or a night out, have you ever stopped to consider why they piqued your interest? Is it their witty one-liner introduction? Their sleek pony-tail hairdo? Or is it, as shown in many rom-coms, the dazzling million dollar smile that would take your breath away? Research shows that your oral profile plays an important role not only for social settings but also in maintaining a good overall health.
Apart from aesthetics, we are sure that you value good oral hygiene daily so that you are able to enjoy tasty treats without any worries. Maintaining good oral hygiene is one of the most important things you could do for your gums, teeth, throat and your overall health which enable you to feel good and look good. Daily preventive care such as proper flossing, brushing and gargling, will aid in overcoming oral problems caused by bacterias before they develop and cause discomfort, worrisome and burn a hole in your wallet.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) reported that oral diseases produce major health burdens for numerous countries and lead to a lifetime of discomfort, pain, disfiguration and even death. In addition, these diseases share a common risk factor with other major non-communicable diseases such as cancer, cardiovascular diseases and diabetes.
Oral Health Condition
Oral health condition is affected primarily due to inadequate exposure to fluoride, no access to oral health care services in the community and high sugar diets as well as the use of alcohol and tobacco.
Some of the oral health leading problems include:
Dental caries (tooth decay)
Dental caries result when plaque forms on the surface of a tooth and converts the free sugars (all sugars added to foods by the manufacturer, cook, or consumer, plus sugars naturally present in honey, syrups, and fruit juices) contained in foods and drinks into acids that destroy the tooth over time. A continued high intake of free sugars, inadequate exposure to fluoride and a lack of removal of plaque by toothbrushing can lead to caries, pain and sometimes tooth loss and infection.
Periodontal (gum) disease
Periodontal disease affects the tissues that both surround and support the tooth. The disease is characterized by bleeding or swollen gums (gingivitis), pain and sometimes bad breath. In its more severe form, the gum can come away from the tooth and supporting bone, causing teeth to become loose and sometimes fall out. Severe periodontal diseases are estimated to affect nearly 10% of the global population. The main causes of periodontal disease are poor oral hygiene and tobacco use.
Oral cancer includes cancer of the lip, other parts of the mouth and the oropharynx. Tobacco, alcohol and areca nut (betel quid) use are among the leading causes of oral cancer. Furthermore, Oral cancer is more common in men and in older people, and varies strongly by socio-economic condition. In some Asian-Pacific countries, the incidence of oral cancer ranks among the three top cancers.
Oral manifestations include fungal, bacterial or viral infections of which oral candidiasis is the most common and often the first symptom. Oral manifestation may cause pain, discomfort, dry mouth, and difficulties swallowing. Not only that, oral manifestations occur in 30-80% of people, especially people with HIV, with considerable variations depending on the affordability of standard antiretroviral therapy (ART).
Early detection of any manifestation or HIV-related oral lesions can be used to diagnose HIV infection and monitor any disease’s progression. Early detection is also important for timely treatment.
Noncommunicable diseases and common risk factors
Most oral diseases and conditions share modifiable risk factors (such as tobacco use, alcohol consumption and an unhealthy diet high in free sugars) common to the four leading non-communicable diseases (cardiovascular disease, cancer, chronic respiratory disease and diabetes).
In addition, it is reported that diabetes is linked in a reciprocal way with the development and progression of periodontal disease. Moreover, there is a causal link between the high consumption of sugar and diabetes, obesity and dental caries.
How To Prevent Oral Problems and Improve Oral Hygiene:
Besides regular visits to the dentist, these are some simple steps that each of you can take to decrease the risk of developing any oral problems that could lead to overall health issues. These include:
- Brushing thoroughly twice a day and flossing daily
- Eating a balanced diet and limiting snacks between meals
- Using dental products that contain fluoride, including toothpaste
- Rinsing with a fluoride mouth rinse if your dentist tells you to
- Making sure that your children under 12 drink fluoridated water or take a fluoride supplement if they live in a non-fluoridated area.
- Use an antibacterial mouth spray