What health issues does bad oral health contribute?

Picture of Tooth paste and brush

Oral health is one of the branches of health that people have less focus on. They tend to neglect it because it is just a fraction of our body. Some people even think that oral health care is not important at all. They wouldn’t even go to the dentist until they cannot withstand the pain. People opt for home remedies instead of going to the dentist to get proper treatment. Little did we know that it is the oral health that should be given proper attention. Many diseases occur in the oral cavity and that if we don’t take enough care, it might be the death of us.

            According to research by Harvard School of Dental Medicine, the mouth is the number one dirtiest part of the human body. Aside from it is where the food goes first, it is home to millions to billions of bacteria. The research stated that scientists discovered that there are 615 different types of bacteria living inside the mouth. This is why tooth decay appears rapidly if you do not brush your teeth. Tooth decay is a disease where the bacteria from the food and saliva multiply on the pits, grooves, and sides of the teeth. It starts as a pinpoint discoloration which grows into an enormous cavity causing pain and discomfort to the patient. Another health issue aside from tooth decay is Halitosis or bad breath. Having that kind of condition is may be due to not brushing, tooth decay, or an underlying serious disease. Tooth decay causes bad breath because the bacteria are continuously spreading and growing. Untreated deep cavities can also worsen and eventually turn into Chronic Apical Periodontitis. It is a disease that causes intense pain and discomfort to the patient. It may also cause swelling on the gums and infection of the pulp. Immediate treatment should be performed so that it will not be a hindrance to a patient’s daily activity. Another common problem is Gingivitis. It is a gum disease that is caused by plaque deposits around the teeth and gums. It causes inflammation and sometimes, bleeding while brushing the teeth. It is easily treatable but with constant neglect of oral health, it may lead to the patient having Periodontitis. Periodontitis is the inflammation of the gums and the structures surrounding it. It is a disease where the gums are swollen and at most times, receded. Periodontitis is caused by bacteria and plaque and it may be a long-term disease if not treated as soon as possible. The diseases mentioned above are just less serious diseases that could happen if we continue to set aside our oral health. But did you know that more serious diseases could also happen? According to research, the link between cardiovascular disease and poor oral health may be little but possible. The bacteria from an untreated tooth may seep into the bloodstream, build up plaque, and may cause the arteries to harden. This is very serious as it may lead to a heart attack. Dementia and Alzheimer’s may also occur due to untreated gingivitis. The bacteria from the inflammation may go up to the brain and trigger a response from the immune system. The immune system will act up and kill the brain cells. The most fatal that can occur due to poor oral health is Cancer. There are a lot of cancers that may develop inside the mouth and most of them are because of bad habits like cigarette and tobacco smoking, alcohol, betel nut chewing, and many more. These killers are silent and before you know it, you already have it. It may develop rapidly or slowly depends on what type of cancer. Squamous cell carcinoma of the mouth is the most common of all oral cancers. There are many more on the list but what was mentioned was common to more serious types of diseases. If we continue neglecting our oral health, it is like neglecting our life too.

            For these diseases to be completely healed, good practice and treatment should be done. One of the treatments for halitosis, gingivitis, and periodontitis is oral prophylaxis or the intense cleaning of the mouth. It is needed and shall be repeated every 6 months. It is a procedure where the dentist uses a prophy angle and a prophy paste to clean the teeth. Prophy paste is not toothpaste. It does not help fluoridate our teeth. But it is a cleaning agent that is coarser than the toothpaste to be able to thoroughly clean the teeth. There are lots of flavors to choose from like chocolate, mint, strawberry, or bubblegum. If your local dentist does not have those prophy paste samples, then better ask him/her to buy some! Aside from oral prophylaxis, cavity restoration should also be performed for dental caries. Restoration is a procedure where the decayed part of a tooth is removed and is replaced by a filling or composite. It is done for the teeth to return to its full function. When a tooth is severely carious, another treatment is suggested. Endodontic therapy or root canal is suggested. It is a procedure where the inflamed pulp is removed; canals are cleaned and are filled with endodontic material. It is usually followed by jacket crowning to ensure tooth integrity. Tooth extraction is the last option because if a tooth can still be saved, extraction is not necessary. However, if the tooth is severely damaged and even endo therapy could not save it, then extraction is the answer. Prevention is better than cure. If you want to prevent these diseases from happening to you, start stopping the bad habits. Refrain from smoking and drinking alcoholic beverages! It does not just damage the mouth; it will also eventually damage the other organs. Aside from tooth brushing, flossing, and gargling, we should make a habit to go to the dentist for a check-up. It is a great way of caring for the oral health. What a wonderful dental experience it maybe if we can do so. Always remember that: you are not just taking care of the mouth but the body as a whole.

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