A Guide to Oral and Dental Health

A Guide to Oral and Dental Health

October 1, 2022

At-home brushing and flossing are great ways to maintain excellent oral and dental health. Regular dental check-ups, proper diet, and healthy lifestyle habits contribute greatly to oral health. Excellent oral health ensures you eat, speak, and brush normally and comfortably. Your risk of developing oral problems like gum disease and tooth decay reduces significantly.

Facts about dental and oral health problems

Oral problems can occur in any part of the oral cavity, including the teeth, gums, cheeks, tongue, throat, palate, neck, jaw, and mouth. Common oral problems include:

  • Tooth decay and cavities
  • Gum disease or periodontal disease
  • Oral cancer
  • Tooth loss
  • Dental trauma like chips, cracks, and chips
  • Jawbone disorders

Cavities, gum disease, and tooth loss are the most common dental problems in children and adults globally. According to WHO, about 60 to 90% of school children have developed at least one cavity.

Similarly, the majority of adults have had at least one dental cavity.

As far as gum disease is concerned, about 15 – 20 % of adults aged 35 – 44 years have severe gum disease. About 30% of adults aged 65 and above have lost all their natural teeth. In some places, 1 – 10 people out of every 100,000 have oral cancer.

Causes of Dental and Oral Diseases

Your oral cavity contains all sorts of good and bad bacteria and fungi. Some belong there while are found in the things you consume. In small qualities, these substances are typically harmless. However, some actions can cause them to increase and multiply, causing harm.

Poor oral hygiene is the number one reason behind oral problems. When you fail to brush and floss your mouth, bacteria in the mouth feed on the food left over in the mouth and multiply. Over time, bacterial plaque builds up on the teeth and around the gumline. More plaque accumulates and hardens to tartar or dental calculus if not removed. You will need professional cleaning to remove tartar.

Over time, these deposits release harmful acids that erode your teeth enamels, causing tooth decay and cavities. These acids also irritate and inflame your gums, leading to gum disease or gingivitis. Over time, bacterial plaque and tartar get below the gums and cause them to pull away from the teeth (receding gums). At this stage, a patient can experience severe symptoms like bleeding gums, loose teeth, tooth loss, jawbone damage, and tooth infection.

In general, below are risk factors that increase your risk of oral diseases:

  • Poor dental and oral hygiene
  • Diet high in sugar and starch
  • Uncontrolled diabetes
  • Smoking
  • Certain medications that cause a dry mouth
  • Dental trauma from sports or car accidents
  • Family history or genes
  • Certain infections like HIV
  • Hormonal changes in women
  • Frequent heartburn, acid reflux, and vomiting

Symptoms of dental and oral problems

Early diagnosis of oral issues allows for quick, less costly, and more successful treatment. Regular dental check-ups and cleanings are your best chance of catching oral issues early. It’s worth noting that most oral issues won’t show significant symptoms in their initial stages.

Common warning signs of oral conditions include:

  • Sensitivity to heat and cold
  • Loose teeth or tooth loss
  • Bad breath or taste
  • Receding gums
  • Bleeding, swollen, red, or sensitive gums
  • Dental abscess
  • Ulcers or sores that won’t heal
  • Frequent dry mouth
  • Cracked, chipped, and broken teeth
  • Clicking jaw
  • Difficulty opening the mouth or swallowing
  • Pain when chewing or brushing
  • Persistent pain or toothache

If you have any of these symptoms, visit a dentist near you. Seek emergency care in a dental clinic near you if your symptoms are severe or/and accompanied by a high fever or neck swelling.

Oral health care tips

Use these tips to care for your mouth and prevent oral problems:

  • Brush and floss daily.
  • Eat healthier and limit sugary snacks.
  • Always stay hydrated.
  • Avoid abrasive oral products.
  • Get regular fluoride treatments.
  • Schedule routine dental assessments.
  • Seek prompt treatments for oral problems.

Depending on your specific condition, your dentist can use the following treatments to restore your oral health:

  • Antibiotics
  • Professional cleaning
  • Scaling and root planing
  • Tooth extractions
  • Fluoride treatments
  • Good oral hygiene
  • Lifestyle changes
  • Gum flap surgery
  • Bone grafting
  • Dental fillings, bonding, veneers, or crown
  • Root canal therapy
  • Tooth extractions
  • Dental bridges, implants, and dentures

How Dental health affects overall health

Research has linked poor oral health and hygiene to chronic health issues such as

  • Heart disease
  • Oral cancer
  • Diabetes
  • Premature birth
  • Endocarditis
  • Low birth weight
  • Brain damage
  • Respiratory problems like pneumonia

The healthier your mouth is, the lower your risk of serious, costly, and long-term health issues.

Schedule an Appointment Today with our dentist in Dover, NH

Contact Belknap Dental Associates to speak with our dentist in Dover, NH, to learn more about your oral and dental health.

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