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Everything You Need to Know About Dental and Oral Health

There are a number of reasons to have good oral and dental health. Today, there are a variety of methods that will help support healthy dental and general oral health, including taking advantage of new technologies and techniques. Whether you need one, or all of these solutions depends on several factors, including what the health issue is or if you are seeking preventative care. There it is advisable to visit a hospital near you to help keep a regular check.

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Prevention is always better than cure. This applies to oral health as much as it does to other diseases. In this article, we take a look at everything you need to know about dental and oral health, from the early symptoms to diseases and their causes and prevention. 

> Symptoms of Dental & Oral Problems
Oral diseases affect close to 3.5 billion people worldwide according to The Global Burden of Disease Study, 2020 conducted by Seattle: Institute of Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME).

Oral health is the general condition of all structures, functions, and tissues of the oral cavity (mouth). This includes the teeth, gums and hard palate, tongue and soft palate, salivary glands, as well as the lips, cheeks, and floor of the mouth. The most common symptoms of dental and oral problems are stained teeth, toothaches, tooth sensitivity, and bad breath. It is your body’s first signal to notify you that your oral health is compromised.

Toothache can vary from mild to excruciating pain. If you see swelling or pus around the affected tooth or have a fever, it's serious and you should see a doctor as soon as possible. Tooth abscesses are a serious condition. For some people, abscesses can spread from the gums to other parts of the body, requiring antibiotics and even surgery. Tooth sensitivity is common among people with high sugar in their diet. Poor dental hygiene combined with poor diet leads to plaque formation. Un-attended plaque formation leads to decaying and receding gums that cause cavities and expose roots causing tooth sensitivity.

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Types of Dental & oral Diseases

  1. Cavities - Cavities are little holes in your teeth caused due to the plaque buildup on your teeth which destroys tooth enamel. If the Plaque is left unchecked it can lead to Periodontitis. 

  2. Bleeding gums/ Gingivitis - One of the most common gum problems is called gingivitis. A build-up of plaque caused by sticky bacteria below the gum line causes it. Left untreated, it can at some point cause bone loss and your teeth will shift or become loose. 

  3. Mouth Ulcers - Mouth ulcers, also known as canker sores, are painful lesions that occur inside your mouth or at the base of your gums. They usually go away within a week or two. However, if they stay longer and don’t show any signs of healing, you should reach out to book an appointment at a hospital near you

  4. Halitosis - Xerostomia or dry mouth is a key factor causing halitosis. Saliva is an important way to keep your mouth moist. It also helps wash away food particles and bacteria that cause bad breath. Xerostomia decreases saliva production, causing bad breath. 

  5. Oral Cancer - Oral cancer is a type of head and neck cancer that affects the mouth and throat, which includes the tongue, tonsils, gums, and oropharynx (a section of the throat at the back of your mouth). In India, 80,000 new cases of oral cancer are detected every year. According to a survey conducted by the Dental Council of India, head and neck are the predominant sub-sits for cancer in India and constitute 25-30% of all cancer cases.

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Oral cancers can be difficult to detect in their early stages because they often don't produce clear signs or symptoms. As these cancers progress, they can cause pain or swelling in the mouth. They also may make it difficult to open your mouth or swallow. Because most people are not aware of any symptoms early on, regular dental check-ups that include an oral cancer screening are critical to detecting oral cancer early on, when it's easiest to treat.

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms accompanied by a high fever and swelling of cheeks and neck or brittle teeth, you should seek immediate medical care.

> Causes of Dental & Oral Diseases

There are many factors that contribute to oral diseases and dental health problems, including:

  • Poor dental hygiene 

  • High sugar intake 

  • Dry mouth 

  • Smoking 

  • Diabetes

  • Hormonal changes 

  • Acid reflux 

  • Genetics 

  • Infectious diseases like HIV/AIDS 

> Prevention
The Department of Health states that healthy teeth and gums are the cornerstone for good oral health and regular brushing offers great protection against gum diseases.

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The risk of oral diseases can be reduced by making some changes in eating healthy and maintaining good oral hygiene as recommended below: 

  • Drink adequate water 

  • Include more fruits and vegetables in your diet. 

  • Avoid tobacco in all forms; and 

  • Include fluoridated drinking water, salt, and milk in your diet. Fluoride is an important factor in the prevention of dental issues.