Our mouth is the gateway to our body. The state of our oral health is a major determinant of our overall health as it marks an entry portal to the respiratory and digestive tract. The presence of harmful bacteria and other microorganisms in your oral cavity can provide easy access to your entire body to these pathogens that can be detrimental to your health.
The link between hygiene and oral health is not a novice concept and is mostly understood by all. Most of us are aware of the importance of oral health and the implications of being careless about it. of not paying attention to our dental health. Broadly, we are also familiar with the ways to maintain our oral health.
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Do you know?
Oral diseases affect about 3.5 billion people across the world according to the World Health Organization and as per the Global Burden of Disease 2019, untreated dental caries in permanent teeth is the most common health condition.
What do you think is the reason for this?
Fear of Dentists?
Well, the reasons are many and may vary with each person but the reason that is common to all is “Lack of dental hygiene”.
Relation between hygiene and oral health
Due to lack of hygiene, there is a buildup of plaque, a thin, sticky film of bacteria on the teeth. The bacteria in the plaque produce acids, especially when we eat sugary or starchy food. This acid damages the tooth enamel resulting in a hole or cavity in the tooth.
When our tooth is infected, the immune system becomes active. Various inflammatory mediators have been released that result in inflammation of the gums and also destroy the teeth, even those that hold the teeth in place. As a result, periodontal disease may occur or you may land up with dental caries, gingivitis, or other dental ailments depending upon the severity and duration of infection.
How bad does hygiene hamper overall health?
Inadequate oral health has been linked to an increased risk of various non-communicable diseases like cardiovascular ailments, diabetes, respiratory diseases, and even cancer.
- Diabetes: The presence of gum infections affects the ability of the body to regulate blood sugar and insulin levels, but this is reversible if the gum disease is treated timely.
- Respiratory infection: The bacteria from the oral cavity may travel to the lungs leading to bacterial pneumonia.
- Cardiovascular ailments: Various studies have reported the coexistence of periodontitis in heart patients. Smoking and an unhealthy diet are common risk factors both for heart and gum disease. In obese patients, blood vessels may inflame resulting in depletion of blood supply to the heart resulting in a heart attack.
- Pregnancy: The persistence of dental ailments during pregnancy may affect the growth of the baby and may even lead to premature labor and low birth weight.
Measures to ensure optimum oral health
In order to achieve and maintain optimum oral health, a constant effort is required. Oral health is not confined to our teeth but the health of our gums, tongue, the odor of our mouth, any discoloration; eruptions in the oral cavity also contribute to our oral health.
Here are the measures that are a must for optimum oral health:
- Brush your teeth at least twice a day with fluoride toothpaste, once in the morning and another time at night.
- Remove plaque and food bits inside and around your teeth regularly to avoid infection and inflammation of the gums.
- Clean your teeth with interdental brushes or dental floss at least once a day.
- Limit or avoid consumption of high sugary food and drinks as much as possible.
- Avoid tobacco consumption and smoking.
- Visit your dental hygienist regularly for assessment of your teeth and regular or deep cleaning as required. Dental hygienists are oral health professionals who examine the oral cavity for any gum or teeth-related problems and advice regarding preventive measures.
How is the role of dental hygienist different from a dentist?
A dentist treats the various ailments related to your teeth but a dental hygienist performs a regular dental health checkup & assesses the condition of your teeth. On the basis of the assessment, the treatment plan shall be devised for you by a dentist.
A dental hygienist is qualified to perform a deep clean of your teeth, perform various preventive procedures, and advise you on how to keep your gums and teeth healthy.
Several dietary recommendations can also be expected from a dental hygienist. Dental hygienists are professionals who may either work in association with a dentist or independently.
Why are dental hygienists important?
You must be wondering when you can take care of your teeth by brushing and flossing regularly, then why do you need a dental hygienist?
Yes, you can, but you may still land up with dental caries, periodontitis, and similar ailments.
There is no doubt in the fact that regular brushing & flossing helps in cleaning the teeth and removing the food particles. But the tartar and plaque deposits shall still be present on your teeth. Plaque is a thin, sticky layer of bacteria that deposits on the teeth, and tartar is the calcified deposits in the teeth and gums that lead to discoloration in the long run.
The buildup of plaque and tartar is inevitable and the only way to get rid of it is regular cleaning at least every six months. If you fail to go for regular cleaning, then another option is deep cleaning. Both the regular cleaning and deep cleaning procedures are performed by a dental hygienist. If you fail to visit a dental hygienist even for deep cleaning you may land up with multiple dental cavities, gingivitis, gum disease, tooth decay, and tooth loss.
What if we tell you that you can perform a dental health checkup yourself from the comfort of your home?
Toothlens brings to you an artificial intelligence empowered technology with which a thorough assessment of your teeth can be performed. All you need is a smartphone with a camera and a mirror. Toothlens will not only help you keep a track of your health, but also suggest ways to encourage oral wellness.
Want to know more about this? Connect with the Toothlens team to book a demo now!
To sum up, we would just like to share a common saying with you ‘You don’t have to brush your teeth, just the ones you want to keep.’