Taking good care of your mouth is very important in maintaining good oral health. If our teeth and gums are looked after correctly we can avoid losing teeth in our middle and old age.A lot of people are not sure when the appropriate time is to start maintaining their kids’ oral health, when they should visit an oral health centre, or how their oral health affects their overall health.
Children normally have their first tooth at 6 months of age.The teeth need to erupt in a healthy oral environment to reduce the risk of early childhood caries. Good oral hygiene should begin even before the first tooth arrives! Children should be seen by an oral health practitioner every 6 months. These specialists can identify caries early on, and provide advice on good dental hygiene. Many young children loose teeth as a result of baby bottle tooth decay.
Teenagers can be prone to dental decay due to adventurous lifestyles such as mouth piercings and experimenting with smoking and drinking. This is the age in which they become self-conscious. Halitosis (bad breath), dental caries, and teeth misalignment issues can be addressed or prevented by regular visits to the dentist.
ADULTS AND GERIATRICS
Adults and geriatric patients are prone to tooth decay mainly as a result of gingivitis.
GINGIVITIS: is an inflammation of the gums causing them to become red and swollen. It is caused by plaque which builds up on the gums.Plaque is a sticky substance made from leftover food particles and saliva that mix in the mouth. It contains millions of bacteria that result in infection and inflammation.If plaque is not removed by proper brushing and flossing, it hardens into calculus(tartar) which is calcified plaque. This attaches to the enamel on the teeth above and below the gums.
Gingivitis is a very common condition. It begins as light bleeding of the gums after brushing, but may progress to heavy bleeding, even when not brushing.
PERIODONTITIS: If the gingivitis is left untreated, the infection progresses. Eventually the gum becomes separated from the tooth. When inflammation reaches the bone at root level it attacks the root loosening the tooth. This is periodontitis whichis the main cause of tooth loss in adults, and can also cause abscesses and bad breath.
Poor oral health increases the risk of serious medical conditions such as a heart attack, poorly controlled diabetes, and sometimes pre-term labour.
KEEPING YOUR MOUTH HEALTHY
- Brush for 2 minutes at least twice a day (preferably with an electric tooth brush)
- Use fluoridated toothpaste
- Floss daily
- Replace your toothbrush every 3-4 months
- Schedule regular dental check-ups and cleanings
- Rinse mouth with water after every meal
Your oral health is more important than you might realize. From early childhood to geriatrics, it is important that we maintain good oral hygiene because taking care of your oral health is an investment in your OVERALL health.