Your Oral Health

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Your Oral Health

by Susanne Ellis, on 29th May 2014 | 0 comments

There is a tremendous surge of interest in healthy living and looking after ourselves and yet, even though the state of the oral health is connected to many other health conditions, the mouth is often neglected and not part of the ‘healthy regime’.  In some cases the signs of a disease can first appear in the mouth; in other cases infections in the mouth, such as gum disease, can be related to other health problems.  The mouth is normally teeming with bacteria; usually the bacteria are kept under control with good oral health care, such as daily brushing and flossing.  Saliva is also an important part of the defence against bacteria and viruses, as it contains enzymes that can destroy bacteria.

Healthy gums prevent bacteria from your mouth entering the bloodstream; however, gum disease may provide bacteria a route of entry into the bloodstream.   Certain medications or treatments can reduce saliva flow or disrupt the normal balance of bacteria in the mouth and may also lead to oral changes, making it easier for bacteria to enter your bloodstream. Some researchers believe that these bacteria and inflammation from your mouth are linked to other health problems in the rest of your body:

*Cardiovascular disease.  Research shows that several types of cardiovascular disease may be linked to oral health.  These include heart disease, clogged arteries, stroke and bacterial endocarditis.  Some researchers believe that bacteria from gum disease can enter the bloodstream and travel through the arteries to the heart, affecting the cardiovascular system.

*Pregnancy and birth.   Gum disease has been linked to premature birth. Some research has shown that disease-causing organisms in a pregnant woman’s mouth can be found in the placenta or amniotic fluid, possibly causing premature birth.

*Diabetes.   Diabetes increases the risk of gum disease, cavities, tooth loss, dry mouth, and a variety of oral infections.  Conversely, poor oral health can make the diabetes more difficult to control.  Infections may cause the blood sugar to rise and require more insulin to keep it under control.

*Osteoporosis. The first stages of bone loss may show up in your teeth.  Your dentist may be able to spot this on routine dental X-rays.

*Oral Cancer.  There are 4,300 new cases of oral cancer diagnosed in Britain every year.

Teeth are one of the first features we notice when we meet someone for the first time and yet according to a recent survey by the Citizens Advice Bureau at least 7.4 million people are failing to keep up to date with their 6 monthly check-up.  A dentist will often recommend a session with a dental hygienist, who will professionally clean the teeth.  But the hygienist will also be able to educate and advise on the most suitable cleaning techniques for each individual patient.  Many hygienists can offer additional services such as an ‘airflow’ clean, which is a modern way of removing extrinsic staining from the teeth.

Nothing ages people like bad teeth, we are all living longer and to keep our teeth in later life, we must start looking after our teeth now.  Regular examinations by the dentist and treatment sessions with the hygienist are essential for the maintenance of good oral health.

Patient Top Tips

  1. Bleeding gums are a sign of gum disease.
  2. Teeth should be brushed for 2 minutes in the morning and 2 minutes at night
  3. Flossing is essential to clean between the teeth and remove the harmful bacteria that can cause gum disease and bad breath.
  4. Bad breath can be caused by poor teeth cleaning and failure to remove bacteria from the tongue.

 

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