Did you know that there was a link between oral health and overall health? Most every person wants to enjoy great oral health, and just as importantly to avoid dental problems like cavities. Yet not everyone takes the time necessary to care for the teeth and gums. This is why preventable dental problems, like cavities, continue to impact nearly 90 percent of the adults in America. If you’d like to “beat these odds,” it isn’t luck of favor you need. You simply need to commit to giving your teeth and gums the care they require to stay healthy and also beautiful! Gum disease and other oral infections can chronically shower the entire body with bacteria and other irritants. Many chronic diseases are thought to be started by this chronic irritation.
Early symptoms of many illnesses show up in the mouth. Good oral hygiene and paying attention to your lips, gums, cheeks, and tongue are part of keeping your whole body healthy. You should know what your mouth looks and feels like when it’s healthy, so that small problems can be detected before they become big problems.
The tongue is an important indicator of overall health
A white coating on the tongue could indicate dehydration – easily taken care of – but it’s also a symptom of oral infections like thrush. Most oral cancers begin with, or involve, the tongue. Swollen, painful tongues can be soothed with an antibacterial rinse and by staying away from spicy foods, alcohol, and tobacco until the swelling has gone down. If swelling persists for several days, or interferes with breathing, eating, or speaking, contact your dentist immediately.
Tender spots are often canker or cold sores. These go away on their own, but will heal faster if kept clean with mouthwash or a 50-50 mixture of hydrogen peroxide and water. However, a sore spot could be an early sign of cancer or precancerous conditions like leukoplakia. If detected in Stage 1, the oral cancer five-year survival rate is 90%; if found at a later stage, survival drops to 50%. Though overall oral cancer rates have fallen, cases in patients under 40 have increased nearly five-fold.
Got bad breath? Halitosis can be chronic, recurring, or sudden and acute. Chronic halitosis is usually caused by poor oral hygiene; the smell comes from sulphurous compounds released by oral bacteria. A sharp, fruity smell like nail polish is a sign of ketoacidosis, a life-threatening condition arising from untreated diabetes. Ammonia or fishy odors are caused by kidney failure.
Gum health and appearance has links to systemic health issues.
Addison’s disease, Peutz Jeghers syndrome, acute necrotizing ulcerative gingivitis, and oral cancer all can manifest themselves in the mouth as creating pigmented areas or dark or black gums.
How Oral Health Affects Your Smile
A healthy smile is a beautiful smile, one with bright teeth and pink gums. But, if you’re suffering from dental issues such as gingivitis, cavities, or even alignment issues, these could affect your oral health as well as the appearance of your smile.
- Gum disease, for instance, can cause gums to become inflamed, red, and even bleed. It can also cause excessive gum tissue growth, or recession, which can drastically change the look of your smile, often causing an asymmetrical gumline which can detract from your otherwise beautiful teeth.
- Cavities can cause discoloration and deep stains, but also decay that erodes the very enamel of your teeth, often leading to more serious issues like infection. To restore your smile both cosmetically and functionally, you could have a tooth-colored dental filling completed. Since it uses the same material as cosmetic bonding, it creates a seamless restoration that will still allow you to smile beautifully and comfortably!
- Alignment issues can cause obvious problems, like gaps between the teeth or overlapping teeth, which can be embarrassing and often uncomfortable. But, alignment problems can also lead to subconscious teeth grinding which can cause wear along the edges of the teeth and damaged the jaw, as well. To correct these issues, many dentists offer orthodontic treatments, and also TMJ treatment, which can address the causes of the teeth grinding.
Brush and Floss Your Teeth Every Single Day
Another way you can protect your smile, at-home and in between dental visits, is by brushing and flossing your teeth every day, without fail. While most people do brush regularly they may not be doing so to the best of their ability. For prime smile protection, it’s important to brush for at least two minutes twice a day, preferably once in the morning when you wake up, or after breakfast, and again at night after your last meal of the day, or shortly before bed.
Flossing is also important, though. Yet many people admit to flossing only occasionally, if at all. This allows bacteria lodged between the teeth to remain in place, where they can cause acidic erosion of the teeth’s enamel, and eventually contribute to the development of gum disease, as well. Prevent issues like these by brushing and flossing.
Don’t Forget to See the Dentist
Of course, no amount of healthy steps taken at home are an excuse not to see the dentist for routine checkups and cleanings. Many patients don’t realize that professional cleanings are actually the only way to effectively and safely remove tartar buildup once it has hardened onto the teeth. Therefore it’s important to see the dentist at least twice a year, to have your smile examined, and your teeth cleaned.
Protect Your Smile with Routine Preventive Care
Even healthy smiles need routine checkups and cleanings. Call us today at 847-234-0517, to schedule your next preventive appointment.