The mouth is home to millions of bacteria. Though most are harmless, some can lead to problems such as tooth decay and gum disease. Proper oral hygiene can help prevent these conditions.
In this study, bivariate and multivariable analyses were conducted to identify factors independently associated with patients’ oral hygiene habits and OHRQoL. Results revealed that sex, rural residence and poor knowledge were significantly and independently associated with the outcome variable.
A healthy mouth is a vital part of the body, not only because it allows us to eat and speak, but also to express emotions through facial expressions. Poor oral health is associated with other medical conditions, including heart disease and diabetes. Maintaining good oral hygiene is critical to avoiding costly dental procedures and long-term health issues.
Generally speaking, daily brushing with fluoride toothpaste, cleaning between teeth with floss or another interdental cleaner and rinsing with antimicrobial mouthwash will keep bacteria under control. Other factors that contribute to a healthy mouth include eating a balanced diet and limiting between-meal snacks, replacing your toothbrush every three or four months and scheduling regular dental checkups.
dental hygiene is preventative care, meaning it can stop problems like tooth decay, gum disease and bad breath (halitosis) before they start. It involves daily brushing and flossing to remove plaque — a sticky, colorless film of bacteria that causes tooth decay and other dental diseases — and routine professional cleanings, examinations and X-rays.
Your dentist and hygienist can recommend brushes and other tools based on your needs to help you clean hard-to-reach areas, as well as teach you proper brushing and flossing techniques. Depending on your risk for oral health problems, your dentist or hygienist may also recommend specific types of toothpaste and mouthwash to ensure you’re getting the most out of your regimen.
Despite being largely preventable, oral diseases are a major global health problem. They contribute to poor general health and quality of life, especially in low-income countries where treatment is often unavailable or not integrated into universal healthcare. Some of the most common oral conditions include dental caries (tooth decay), gum disease, mouth and throat cancers, and xerostomia (dry mouth).
While a healthy mouth can usually prevent these problems, there are many factors that can affect your risk for developing them. Your lifestyle habits – including eating patterns, smoking, and teeth grinding – can all increase your risk for oral diseases. The medications you take may also affect your risk by reducing saliva flow, which can lead to oral infections.
In addition, the hormonal changes that occur during pregnancy can make women more prone to gingivitis, in which the gums become red and swollen and bleed easily. Women should see a dentist early in their pregnancy to ensure good oral health and get advice on how to maintain good oral hygiene during this time.
Other medical conditions that are linked to oral health include HIV/AIDS, which causes mucosal lesions, and osteoporosis, which can lead to tooth loss. People with these conditions should talk to their dentists about ways to improve their oral health and the impact of their medications on their dental health.
Oral Health Products
Various oral health products like toothpaste, mouthwash, floss and whitening agents are available in the market. The products have gone through standard safety evaluations before they are marketed but adverse effects such as local and systemic reactions still occur in some patients .
Oral health tools, which include toothbrushes, toothpaste, mouthwash, floss and whitening products can help maintain good oral hygiene but the most important “tool” is visiting your dentist regularly. Dental professionals look for crooked teeth, gum disease and tooth decay, as well as other serious health problems such as heart disease and sleep apnea.
Brushing teeth several times a day removes harmful bacteria that cause dental plaque, and helps prevent gum disease and tooth decay. When brushing, use proper technique – hold your toothbrush at a slight angle against the teeth and make short side-to-side strokes. Flossing removes bacteria that are hard to reach with a brush, and helps protect the gums and other soft tissues of the mouth.
Fluoride is a mineral that can strengthen the teeth, and reduce the risk of cavities. Several forms of fluoride are available, including in toothpastes and mouthwashes. In addition, drinking fluoridated water can be beneficial for your oral health. There are also entire kits designed to improve your oral hygiene, such as the Kimcare Oral Care Kit, which includes a “Y” attachment and suction handle, swabs and hydrogen peroxide cleaning agent.
Oral Health Connections
The mouth is a portal to the rest of the body and it can tell you a lot about overall health. Studies show that poor oral health, like tooth decay and gum (periodontal) disease, is connected to heart disease. Gum disease, especially in its early stages, can cause bacteria to enter the bloodstream and can lead to stroke and other cardiovascular problems. The bacteria can also travel to the lungs and cause pneumonia or other respiratory illnesses.
Dental hygienists are trained to recognize warning signs in the mouth that may indicate other health issues. In fact, they are often the first healthcare professional to notice that a person has diabetes or other systemic diseases. They can also help patients with these conditions improve their oral hygiene to avoid complications and improve their quality of life.
Research shows that medical-dental integration can improve care coordination, promote prevention behaviors and decrease costs within health systems. It’s an approach that involves primary care practices and dental providers working together to assess a patient’s risk for oral health complications and to reinforce at-home care strategies. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and many community health programs, such as Federally Qualified Health Centers, are already implementing this strategy. Health Level Seven (HL7) CDA and FHIR implementation guides are helping to build the necessary bridges to enable this collaboration.