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Why is my oral health important and do I need to have regular dental checks?

Our oral health is determined by several diverse factors, including diet, oral hygiene, smoking, alcohol use, stress and trauma. These factors are common to several other chronic diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, cancer and strokes.

Our mouth is a window into what is happening in the rest of our body, and your dentist can detect the early signs and symptoms of some systemic diseases (a medical condition which affects your entire body) such as Diabetes or AIDS just by looking in your mouth!

Poor oral health results in difficulty speaking, chewing, swallowing and pain, therefore affecting your ability to consume the nutrition your body needs to stay healthy. Taking care of your oral health is an investment in your overall health.

As your mouth is the entry point of many bacteria, to prevent bacteria from entering the body regular dental checks with a dentist and daily cleaning of your mouth is necessary.

Your dentist will recommend you attend every 6 months or sooner depending on how much help you may need.

What is involved in a dental check?

Your dentist will conduct a thorough examination of your head, neck and oral cavity, this includes but not limited to our teeth, gums and tongue, this is to check for anything which is out of the ordinary. Oral cancer screenings are also a regular part of the dental examination.

X rays are taken following your dental examination, an effective and useful tool which is used to look for any signs of early tooth decay and check for any abnormalities which cannot be seen in the mouth.

Following the initial dental exam your dentist will clean your teeth and highlight any areas of concern. Teeth cleaning involves the removal of plaque and calculus (also known as tartar) which is the build up of bacteria on the tooth surface. The build up of plaque and calculus causes inflammation of the gums, a condition known as gingivitis. If left untreated gingivitis can progress further to affect the soft tissue and bone surrounding your teeth causing mobile teeth or loss of teeth. This condition is known as Periodontitis or Periodontal disease.

By following good oral hygiene practices and seeing your dentist on a regular basis you will be able to keep your teeth and gums strong and healthy and tackle any problems early and prevent the need for more invasive dental treatment and procedures.

 

  1. Brush your teeth twice a day with fluoridated toothpaste, remember to clean in between your teeth with floss or small interproximal brushes daily
  2. Drink fluoridated tap water – consuming fluoridated reduces your risk of tooth decay
  3. Wear a mouthguard when playing high impact sports such as rugby, football or basketball to prevent dental injuries and possible loss of teeth
  4. Quit smoking and tobacco use, there is a proven relationship and increased risk in developing gum disease and oral cancer
  5. Reduce the amount of sugar in your diet. Refined and complex sugars (carbohydrates) are a food source to the bacteria in your mouth. An increased intake of sugars results in increased waste produced by the bacteria, the waste produced by bacteria is acid, which causes the breakdown and progression of holes in your teeth.