Prevention is better than cure. Good oral hygiene practices will keep away dental problems. This will in effect save you from toothaches and expensive dental treatment. The most interesting bit is that it is achievable by dedication of just a few minutes a day to oral hygiene care. Numerous oral hygiene products in addition to the usual toothpaste and brush can be found in the market to assist in this mission.
Unfortunately, most people only remember oral hygiene when a problem has occurred. Research has revealed that although patient activation shows instant improvement in dental hygiene practices, just a small portion maintains these standards six months down the line. People need to take up good oral hygiene practices as a lifelong daily practice.
Awareness concerning the importance of dental hygiene has greatly increased in many countries especially the developed ones. However, modern nutrition and lifestyles have posed a great risk for dental health. In addition to healthy teeth making one feel good, they also enable one to speak properly. Good dental health is vital for everyone’s general well-being.
It is very vital to learn to keep good oral hygiene from early childhood. Parents have a role to educate children how to use oral hygiene products properly. Any good dental hygiene must be a joint effort that also involves the dentist even though different people have differing needs. (Curtis, 2007).
One must seek the dentist’s advice on how to maintain good dental hygiene. The dentist as well as the dental hygiene specialist in some cases will properly instruct and educate on the right way to brush and floss. These specialists can also identify one’s specific needs and help in building a personal dental care plan.
Good oral hygiene leads to healthy looking and smelling mouth. The following are some of the signs of such a mouth:
– Clean teeth without plaque
– Pink gums
– Fresh breath
It is therefore no doubt that oral hygiene is essential. Lack of proper oral hygiene leads numerous health complications that may end up being very costly to cure. It is a good preventive measure to avert such a situation.
This presentation covers various aspects of oral health and its associated problems. It also investigates the causes of this problem in depth and the possible solutions to them.
Oral hygiene consists of the processes performed in order to keep the mouth clean and in good health. The aim of oral hygiene is preventing the building up of plaque. This is a sticky bacteria film that accumulates on the surface of the teeth. This occurs because of poor dental hygiene and is the main cause of many dental problems. Poor dental hygiene causes demineralization that causes tooth decay. Poor oral hygiene has an ultimate effect of teeth loss. Also, many mouth and dental health problems are caused by poor oral hygiene. Others include:
– Trench mouth
– Oral thrush
– Bad breath
Systemic diseases linked to poor oral hygiene include the following:
– Bacterial pneumonia
– Cardiovascular Disease
– Low weight at birth
– Diabetes complications
– Premature birth
Osteoporosis and loss of teeth are dental health problems that mainly affect the elderly. Osteoporosis is a problem where the density of bones falls making them prone to fractures. This disease affects all bones in the body especially those of wrist, spine and hip. Research has linked osteoporosis with losing bone in the jaw. (Curtis, 2007).
Periodontitis is a dangerous infection affecting the gums and the teeth supporting bones. Bacteria and the immune system of the body disintegrate the bone and its connecting tissue that holds the teeth in place. The teeth eventually loosen up and need removal. Research has revealed that dental x-rays can be used as a tool to screen osteoporosis. It has discovered that the x-rays are very good in differentiating osteoporosis patients from normal bone density cases.
According to the WHO, oral health is big problem to all countries in the world. That is the reason WHO (World Health Organization) has placed great emphasis on developing worldwide policies to prevent oral diseases.
Studies have shown that oral hygiene has greatly improved particularly in developed countries, leading to better oral health. There is however a great concern worldwide that low income as well as other vulnerable people has growing levels of dental problems. These problems affect the health and well being of people. They also contribute to low levels of production in the workplace and high absenteeism in schools. It has also been established that healthy teeth and gums have a close link to a healthy heart.
The mouth has been referred to as the window to the body’s health. One’s state of dental health gives an idea about his general health. Oral health is linked to various other health problems beyond the mouth. It is common for the initial signs of a disease first showing in the mouth. Also mouth infections like the gum diseases more often than not affect other parts of the body.
The mouth contains bacteria. To keep these bacteria under control, good oral health is vital. Gum diseases may lead to bacteria entering the bloodstream. Researchers have discovered inflammations and bacteria from the mouth are connected to other health conditions in other parts of the body.
Some foods are believed to cause cavities. Cooked starch such as crisps may cause teeth damage but to a very small degree because starch is first converted by the saliva enzymes. Sucrose is also known to cause dental cavities. The frequency of sugar consumption is more likely to cause cavities than the amount of sugar consumed (Medicine Net, 2008).
Frequent consumption of sugars increases the time the teeth are exposed to low pH levels, causing demineralization. Frequent consumption of food and drinks that contain sugar should be discouraged to give the teeth a chance for repair by fluoride and remineralization. Limiting consumption of sugary foods till meal times reduces the chances of cavities. Fruit and fruit juice sugars such as maltose, fructose and glucose have equal chances of causing cavities (Curtis, 2007).
Acids in fruit juice and other soft drinks cause enamel demineralization since they lower pH levels. Therefore drinks such as cola and orange juice should not be taken through out the day since they greatly raise the chances of dental cavities.
Sticky foods also have a higher chance of causing cavities. By sticking to the teeth, they reduce the oral pH for long periods, especially if they contain sugar. Teeth should therefore be cleaned at least two times a day to remove debris from the teeth. Brushing regularly and using dental floss helps in removing dental plaque that coats the tooth surface (Ketterer, 1919).
Smoking as well as tobacco chewing has strong relationships with various dental diseases. Also, vomiting regularly is also known to cause a big damage to the teeth.
Oral hygiene involves keeping the teeth and mouth clean to avert dental complications and bad breath. Teeth cleaning involve removing tartar and dental plaque. This helps in preventing gum diseases, gingivitis and cavities. Gum diseases are believed to be the cause of more than thirty per cent of tooth loss in adulthood (Bunting, 1960).
Dental specialists are of the recommendation that teeth should be cleaned professionally at least two times in a year. This involves scaling, polishing and debridement. Fluoride treatment then follows for both children and adults (Kleinman and Loe, 1986).
In between the professional cleaning, good oral hygiene is important to prevent tartar from building up, which could cause the earlier-mentioned problems. This is achieved by careful and frequent brushing using a toothbrush and dental floss. This helps in preventing plaque from accumulating on the teeth.
Today, periodontologists recommend using inter-dental brushes instead of dental floss. They argue that it is gentler to the gums and has low risks of hard dental tissue damage. There exist various sizes of brushes recommended depending on the inter-dental space (Estupinan-Day, 2005).
Using dental floss is essential because it helps in removing plaque and decaying food remains stuck between teeth. This decaying food and plaque causes irritation to the gums, making it easier for them to bleed. Experts recommend flossing of at least once in a day, especially before bed time. This helps in preventing receding gums, cavities and gum diseases (Curtis, 2007).
Foods that are useful to the bones and muscles are also useful to the gums and teeth. Cereals and bread are full of vitamins B while vegetables and fruit contain vitamin C. both these nutrients lead to a healthy gum tissue. Magnesium and zinc can be derived from chicken, fish and lean meat. Experts recommend brushing of teeth after meals and before bed and flossing at least once daily, especially before sleep. However, flossing is recommended after meals for some people.
Foods rich in fluoride help in protecting against cavities. Fluoride helps in making the teeth surface acid-resistant during remineralization. Some specialists recommend drinking of water rich in proteins while others argue that using toothpaste alone is enough. Remineralization can also be encouraged by foods rich in calcium and phosphate such as milk and cheese.
All forms of food raise saliva secretion that helps to stabilize the pH in the mouth to 7. Fibrous food help in increasing saliva flow. Sugarless chewing gums stimulate saliva secretion, helping to clean the teeth surface (Curtis, 2007).
Chewing gum assists in oral irrigation, cleaning and removal of particles. However, it is not recommended for teeth in poor condition as t may end up damaging or removing loose teeth fillings also.
Mouthwash improves oral hygiene while dental chewing gums help in improving oral health. Retainers are cleaned in mouthwash. Dentists also recommend dental braces for good oral health and hygiene.
It is evident that oral health is an important aspect of healthy living. It not only makes people feel good about themselves, but also avoid other numerous complications associated with it. Such complications may in the long run be very expensive to cure. Some of them may even be permanent such as loss of teeth. Loss of teeth may in turn make it difficult to speak properly. It is therefore vital that everyone embraces healthy practices to improve and maintain their oral hygiene. Prevention is no doubt better than treatment.
Courtney from Study Moose
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