By Apollo 24/7, Published on - 30 July 2021
The Global Burden of Disease Study of 2017 conducted by the World Health Organization (WHO) found that around 3.5 billion people across the globe suffer from oral diseases. However, you will be amazed to know that most oral health conditions including tooth decay, gum diseases and even oral cancers can be prevented by simply maintaining oral hygiene. Every year, 1st August is observed as Oral Hygiene Day in India to commemorate the birth anniversary of Dr G B Shankwalkar, the founder of the Indian Society of Periodontology. The day aims at spreading awareness about the importance of maintaining oral hygiene and the ways to prevent several dental as well as systemic diseases.
The human body consists of several complex systems which are interconnected. For instance, the respiratory system (breathing system) and the circulatory system (blood carrying system) work together for the absorption of oxygen and the release of carbon dioxide from the body. Any disorder in the circulatory system would affect the exchange of gases in the lungs. Similarly, poor oral health can also result in several systemic complications including heart disease and diabetes.
Studies suggest there are some dental as well as systemic diseases associated with poor oral hygiene. The dental diseases associated with poor oral hygiene include:
Poor oral hygiene is associated with systemic diseases which include:
Some measures that should be followed regularly to ensure a clean and healthy oral cavity include:
1. Regular oral hygiene practice
2. Frequent dental check-ups: It is essential to visit a dentist once every 6 months to ensure a healthy oral cavity. One must visit the dentist if they experience pain, bleeding gums, swelling, non-healing ulcers or any change in colour or texture of the soft tissues inside the mouth (including cheeks, lips and tongue). These signs can be an indication of a serious or potentially serious condition.
3. Consuming a nutritious diet: One should avoid the consumption of sugary and refined foods such as baked food items and carbonated beverages as they promote the production of acid, which can break down the enamel. People should consume a diet rich in fibre, found in leafy vegetables, whole fruits and whole grains by stimulating the production of saliva in the mouth.
4. Quitting unhealthy habits: One should completely quit the use of all forms of tobacco (smoked and smokeless) along with chewing of areca nuts. Smoking cigarettes can reduce the amount of saliva secreted and increase the risk of developing lung cancer while chewing tobacco and areca nuts can cause oral cancer. People should limit their alcohol consumption to not more than 2 drinks a day to ensure proper flow of saliva in the mouth.
Inadequate oral care can result in several dental as well as systemic diseases. Thus, it is important to take care of oral health to ensure overall wellbeing. One can maintain basic oral hygiene by brushing teeth, cleaning the tongue, using a mouthwash, and flossing regularly. Practising good dental hygiene is crucial to prevent oral diseases and dental problems. Visiting the dentist every six months for a prophylactic cleaning and oral examination is advisable.
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