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Oral Health

Oral health is part of general health. Oral diseases, not only cause loss of teeth and bad breath; but also affect eating and social life, or even lead to other serious complications.

Causes of Common Oral Diseases

Common oral diseases include dental caries and periodontitis. The main culprit is dental plaque. It is a sticky substance consisting of bacteria, acid, food debris and saliva, which accumulates on the surface of the teeth.

Dental Caries

Inappropriate cleansing of the teeth or detachment of the dental fillings enable dental plaque to accumulate easily and increases the chance of dental caries.

Bacteria in the plaque produce acid by fermenting carbohydrate from food debris. The acid will cause demineralization of the tooth and tooth decay results. Saliva can help to reverse the process. Hence, decrease in saliva secretion due to ageing or medication, frequent eating and drinking will increase the risk of dental caries.

Periodontitis

Periodontitis is the inflammation of the tissues that surround and support the teeth. It is mainly caused by dental plaque which accumulates at the gingival margin. There may be gum bleeding, progressive loss of the gums around the teeth, loosening and eventually loss of the teeth.

Periodontitis is caused by many factors. Important risk factors include smoking, poorly controlled diabetes, and inherited (genetic) susceptibility. The risk of periodontitis among smokers is 5 times greater, so if you want to have healthy teeth and gums, do not smoke.

Prevention of Oral Diseases

The best way to have good oral health is good regular oral hygiene practice. It includes regular cleansing of the teeth or dentures and regular dental check up.

Brush teeth thoroughly everyday.

  • choose a suitable toothbrush with soft brush fiber. The size of the brush head should be similar to the diameter of a one-dollar coin.
  • use toothpaste that contains fluoride and brush the teeth gently to avoid harming the gums.
  • put the toothbrush at an angle towards the gingival margin where dental plaque tends to accumulate. Brush the outer and inner surfaces of both the upper and lower part of teeth, two to three teeth at a time.
  • People with periodonitis may have some discomfort during teeth brushing. But they should continue to brush the teeth, especially the gum margin where the dental plaque should be cleaned thoroughly.

Care of dentures

Dentures may be fixed or removable. They should not be used to chew on hard objects like bone, crab shell or ice. They should be cleaned daily.

Cleansing of removable denture

  • fill the basin with water or place a towel to prevent accidental drop and damage of the denture.
  • take out the removable denture from the mouth.
  • apply a few drops of detergent onto the toothbrush and clean every part of the denture. Do not use toothpaste. Rinse it with water thoroughly.
  • immerse the cleaned denture into a cup of water overnight.

Cleansing of a fixed bridge

  • Brush the teeth and fixed bridge with fluoride-containing toothpaste as usual.
  • use super-floss to clean the gap between the gum and bridge every night to remove dental plague.

Regular Dental Check Up

Regular dental check up is essential. The dentist will give advice on oral care and preventive measures for early diagnosis of oral disease. This is more cost effective to prevent the occurrence of severe oral diseases.

Common Myths

Myth 1:Tooth brushing is more effective with hard brush fiber and greater force.

Answer: Wrong. Brushing too hard or with a hard brush will lead to gum recession and expose the root of teeth. Plaque can accumulate easily and result in dental caries.

Myth 2: We can use toothpaste to clean removable denture.

Answer: No, the coarse particles in the toothpaste may damage the parts of removable dentures and should not be used.

Myth 3: Teeth fall out normally with age.

Answer: Loosened teeth is mainly caused by periodontitis. If elders maintain good oral hygiene, they can keep their teeth for a long time.

Conclusion

Oral health is very important. Remember to brush the teeth and dentures properly and have regular check up. Oral problems should be treated early too.