On Tuesday, March 20th, is World Oral Health Day an international day to celebrate the benefits of a healthy mouth and to promote worldwide awareness of the importance of oral hygiene. Oral diseases can impact every aspect of life, from personal relationships and self-confidence to school, and work and even to the enjoyment of food.
The main reason behind choosing March 20th as World Oral Health Day is because senior citizens should have a total of 20 natural teeth at the end of their life to be considered healthy,children should possess 20 baby teeth ,healthy adults must have a total of 32 teeth and zero dental cavities and express on a numerical basis,this can be translated as 3/20 hence March 20.
This year’s theme is “Say Ahh: Think Mouth, Think Health”, an important message given that 90% of the world’s population will suffer from oral diseases at some point during their lives, with many of these being avoidable.
According to American Dental Association ,“ many people are not aware of some of the basics to good oral hygiene, such as how often to replace your toothbrush .”
Findings by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) state that half of people aged 30 and older already have some form of periodontal disease,and while people agree that routine oral health is important, only 44% seek professional dental care on a regular basis.
“A new global definition for oral health, which was accepted and approved in September 2016, has opened the door to a universal definition of oral health and acknowledges that it is a fundamental human right.”
This definition states that; “Oral health is multifaceted and includes the ability to speak, smile, smell, taste, touch, chew, swallow, and convey a range of emotions through facial expressions with confidence and without pain, discomfort, and disease of the craniofacial complex”.
What remains clear is that , not enough people are aware about the intrinsic link between their mouth and their general well-being.
Your mouth has been likened to a mirror which can reflect a person’s general health and well-being, revealing nutritional deficiencies and signs of other diseases.
Clinical studies have shown that those with poor oral hygiene are at increased risk of developing various oral health problems such as dental cavities, periodontal disease, halitosis, oral pain, and discomfort for denture wearers.
Some studies have even indicated a link between some oral cancers and poor dental and oral hygiene.
Periodontal disease itself comes in various forms, with gingivitis being a mild form that is generally reversible. If left untreated, a more severe periodontitis can occur resulting in major, irreversible damage to the soft tissue and bone structure of teeth.
What is even more frightening is that studies have shown a link between periodontal disease and chronic health conditions such as stroke, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, respiratory disease and pre-term low weight babies. Periodontitis is also the main cause of tooth loss in adults over the age of 45.
Symptoms of periodontal disease:
- Red, swollen or tender gums
- Pain in the gum area
- Signs of bleeding after brushing, flossing or eating certain foods
- Inflammation or puss between gums and teeth
- Signs of teeth loosening or separating
- Persistent halitosis
- Changes in the fit of partial dentures
- Changes in positioning of teeth
- Experiencing episodes of oral pain
Follow a dental care routine of flossing and brushing your teeth twice daily to remove a plaque build-up. Eat a balanced diet that is high in fruits and vegetables,no smoking and avoid excessive alcohol consumption.
Maintaining a healthy mouth is crucial to keeping it functioning correctly and for maintaining overall health and quality of life. Adopt a good oral health routine from an early age and ensure that you have regular dental checkups.
There is a range of non prescriptive dental care products available at pharmacies that can help prevent and relieve common oral health problems like gingivitis. The Andolex C range includes products such as Andolex C oral rinse, spray, gel and the new Andolex C antibacterial mouthwash. All products contain Benzydamine which provides analgesic, anaesthetic and anti-inflammatory properties.
Speak to your dentist or go to www.andolex.co.za for more information about how to prevent many common oral health problems.