Oral and Dental Diseases

Facts on Oral and Dental Health
​Facts on Oral and Dental Health:
By oral health we mean being secure against the oral and facial pains, as well as periodontal diseases, loss and decay of teeth, and the like diseases and problems affecting the mouse and oral cavity, not to mention oral cancer, mouth ulcers and birth defects; such as cleft lip and cleft palate.
Key Facts on Oral Health:
  • The most common oral disease is tooth decay (also known as: dental cavities), and the diseases that affect the gum (also known as: periodontium).
  • About 60-90% of school children worldwide suffer from tooth decay (dental cavities).
  • It is estimated that 5-20% of middle-age adults suffer from acute cases of periodontal diseases, which might lead up to loss of teeth. This ratio varies from one region to another.
  • The treatment of dental diseases and problems poses a significant economic problem on many high-income countries, as it accounts for 5-10% of the overall health expenditures.
Relationship between Oral Health and Overall Health:
Bacteria, most of which are innocuous, do naturally exist in the mouth, and could be kept under control as long as teeth are cleaned daily with brush and floss. Nevertheless, harmful bacteria do sometimes grow and go beyond control, causing infection transmission to teeth leading up to such diseases as tooth decay and periodontal diseases, as well as the use some medicines which reduces the flow of saliva, thus upsetting the natural balance of bacteria in the mouth, making it easy for the bacteria to enter the bloodstream.
Causes of Oral and Dental Diseases:
The major reasons for loss of teeth are tooth decay and periodontal diseases as a result of the decomposition of the sugar included in food. This process produces an acid effective in the erosion of the outer layer of teeth (called enamel), leading up to tooth decay. According to the WHO's 2003-report, oral and dental problems rank fourth, in terms of the cost of treatment, in industrial countries, especially the elderly, owing to the dryness of the mouth (known as: xerostomia) caused by the intake of some medicines.
It is believed, also, that there is a strong connection between oral diseases and the four chronic diseases: cardiovascular diseases, cancer, respiratory diseases and diabetes. Among the factors harmful to teeth, also, are the unhealthy diet, tobacco-use, alcohol, as well as lack of oral cleanliness.
People Susceptible to Oral and Dental Problems:
  • Patients with incompetence of the cardiac valves:
    When bacteria enter the bloodstream, owing to periodontal inflammations, might bring about severe complications such as the inflammation of the lining of the heart.
  • Cardiovascular diseases:
    According to studies, cardiac diseases, clogged arteries and strokes are somehow connected to periodontal inflammations.
  • Diabetes:
    Diabetes weakens the body's resistance to infection, thus making periodontium more prone to infection.
  • HIV and other immune diseases:
    Such diseases cause the emergence of several oral problems, such as mucosal lesions, which are very painful for AIDS patients.
Significant Dental Problems & Ways of Treatment:
A) Tooth Decay:
Tooth decay takes place as a result of the decomposition of the sugar included in food. This process produces an acid effective in the erosion of the outer layer of teeth (called enamel), leading up to tooth decay. Following are a number of tips recommended for the prevention of tooth decay:
  • Avoiding much eating in the intervals between main meals, as this habit increases the risk of the formation of calculus (dental plaque) on teeth, and, accordingly, the risk of tooth decay.
  • Avoiding sugary soft drinks and stimulants such as tea and coffee.
  • Brushing teeth by using the brush and tooth paste following eating, and using the dental floss every day to remove food stuffed between teeth.
B) Xanthodontia:
There are many causes of xanthodontia (change of its color from white to yellow); including:
  • Foods & Drinks: some foods and drinks causes the change of teeth color, such as coffee, tea and Coca-Cola.
  • Tobacco-use: smoking or chewing tobacco.
  • Lack of dental care: neglecting teeth cleanliness, and not brushing and flossing teeth regularly to remove plaque, coffee, or tobacco, which play a significant role in the change of teeth color.
  • Some diseases have a bad effect on the enamel (the outer layer of the tooth which maintains its solidity): it also affects the dentin (the inner layer of the tooth, which lies beneath the enamel). At any rate, such diseases lead to the change of teeth color.
  • Some methods of treatment and diagnosis cause the change of teeth color: radiological means used with the head and neck, as well as chemotherapy.
  • Some medicines; including:
    • Antibiotics: such as Tetracycline known for its effect on the teeth color when prescribed for young children (under 8 years), whose teeth have not yet fully grown.
    • Mouthwash: especially the types including among their components Cetylpyridinium or
    • Chlorhexidine which cause the maculation and change teeth color.
    • Psychiatric drugs.
    • Some blood pressure medications.
    • Some medical materials: some materials used in dentistry, such as those used in silver filling (for the purpose of repairing damaged teeth), and the materials including silver sulfide, which causes the emergence of black or gray stains on teeth.
    • Aging: aging causes the outer layer of enamel to weaken and disappear gradually, leaving behind the naturally yellow dentine.
    • Environmental factors: over-use of fluoride, either from environmental sources (such as those existent in the tooth-paste and mouthwash), which contribute to the change of teeth color.
    • Dental injuries and trauma: for example, when a little child falls and has his teeth hurt, this will impede the growth of enamel, which is reckoned indispensible for maintaining the natural white color. Such injuries are effective in changing the adults' teeth color as well.
Protection against xanthodontia:
  • You have to change some of your daily habits. For example, you have to quit smoking, and take good care of your teeth, by way of regular brushing and flossing, as well as visiting your dentist every 6 months to have your teeth cleaned in a sound medical and healthy way.
  • In case of the emergence of xanthodontia without overt reasons, and the persistence of it regardless of your adherence to oral cleanliness rules, and in case of the emergence of any other dental symptoms, you have to see the dentist.
  • C) Bad Breath:
    Bad breath results from the negligence of the tips of oral and dental cleanliness, or it could be attributed to health problems beyond the mouth. Some unhealthy habits (such as smoking), or eating some foods (such as garlic, unions and milk products) further worsen the problem bad breath.
    It is worth mentioning that bad breath is a simple and curable problem, by understanding the reasons for the problem first, and then finding proper solutions.
Reasons for bad breath:
  • Negligence of brushing and flossing teeth every day causes foods, especially those with bad smells (garlic, unions, etc.) to remain in the mouth. Such food remains provide an appropriate environment for the growth and reproduction of bacteria, which produce the bad breath.
  • In case you are a denture user, and you pay attention to its cleanliness, you will be an easy prey for the bacteria producing bad breath.
  • Tobacco-use is one of the reasons of bad breath and xanthodontia. It also weakens your ability to taste, and irritates the gum tissue.
Diseases related to bad breath:
  • Bad breath could be attributed to:
  • Tooth decay.
  • Unfixed dentures.
  • Oral fungal infection.
  • Dryness of the mouth (known as xerostomia, which is a medical condition caused by the lack of saliva secretions inside the mouth). Saliva is of high importance in the cleanliness and disinfection of the mouth, by removing bacteria, which, unless removed, will decay producing bad breath. Among the causes of the dryness of the mouth are:
    • Certain medicines.
    • Certain viral infections.
    • Health problems affecting the glands secreting saliva.
    • Respiratory inflammation (chronic sinusitis).
    • Diabetes.
    • Liver and kidney problems.
Protection against bad breath:
Bad breath could be avoided by following these tips:
  • Adhere to the oral and dental health tips, by brushing your teeth twice a day using a tooth-paste including fluoride to remove trapped food and plaque, as well as using mouthwashes and disinfectants.
  • Brush your teeth after every meal. So, it is advisable to keep a brush at your workplace or school to brush your teeth after eating.
  • Don't forget to brush your tongue, which is the largest store of bacteria in the mouth.
  • Replace your brush with a new one every two or three months.
  • Floss your teeth once a day. This helps you reach bacteria located in the places unreachable by the normal teeth brush. This ensures, accordingly, the removal of trapped food and plaque from between your teeth.
  • In case you're a denture user, don't forget to remove it before sleeping, and clean it very well before refixing it when waking up.
  • Visit your dentist regularly (at least twice a year), for examining your oral and dental health.
  • Quit smoking, and ask your dentist for the tips that will help you quit this harmful habit.
  • Drink water frequently; this important for wetting your mouth and throat, and, accordingly, increasing the quantity of saliva in your mouth.
  • Milk products are recommended, especially sugar-free products.
D) Bleeding Gums:
There are many reasons for bleeding gums, most notably the bacterial inflammation resulting in the bleeding gums. When neglecting the tips and instructions of oral and dental health, a bacterial layer (called plaque) is formed on teeth and periodontal ends. Bacteria secrete toxic materials causing periodontal inflammation, which is the major reason for bleeding gums. Unless the plaques is removed by the dentist, the bleeding problems will worsen, leading to the so-called periodontal diseases, entailing more and severer bleeding.
Common causes of bleeding gums:
  • Periodontal inflammations, owing to plaque bacteria.
  • Periodontal injuries (wounds, trauma, etc.)
  • Some medicines (cardiac and blood pressure medicines).
  • Misuse of teeth brush or floss.
  • Lack of Vitamin C and Vitamin K.
  • Hormonal disorder during adolescence and pregnancy.
  • Blood cancer.
  • Using a tight or improper denture.
Danger posed by bleeding gums:
Your gum requires you to pay closer attention to cleaning your teeth. Negligence of your oral and dental health may worsen your bleeding gums, leading up to the incidence of periodontal diseases, which are the major reason for the loss of teeth and deformation of the mouth. Recent studies prove, besides, that there is a relationship between chronic periodontal diseases and heart attacks.
Protection against bleeding gums:
  • Brush your teeth with a soft brush following every meal.
  • Floss your teeth at least once a day.
  • Visit a dentist at least once every six months to remove the plaque unreachable to brush.
  • Rinse with warm salty water.
  • Avoid foods with high carbohydrates, to evade the formation of plaque on your teeth.
  • Eat foods which are high in fiber, to strengthen your gum tissue, such as apples, carrots and brown bread.
  • Quit smoking.
  • In case your denture is tight or improper, you have to immediately see your dentist to solve this problem.
Relationship between Food and Oral and Dental Health:
There is a strong connection between the food you eat and your oral and dental health. Also, there is a strong connection between tooth decay and your intake of sugars, sweets and sugary soft drinks, as they include high proportion of citric acid which is harmful to your teeth.
  • Eat fresh, health food, including all the necessary nutrients (fruit, vegetables, protein and legumes).
  • Avoid much eating between main meals, as this habit increases the risk of the formation of calculus (dental plaque) on teeth, and, accordingly, the risk of tooth decay.
  • Eat health foods (fruit, vegetables, etc.), and reduce your intake of soft drinks and coffee.
  • Reduce your intake of sugars and sweets, and make sure to brush your teeth after eating.
  • Avoid foods with high carbohydrates, to evade the formation of plaque on your teeth.
  • Eat foods which are high in fiber, to strengthen your gum tissue, such as apples, carrots and brown bread.
  • Chew food well; since chewing increases the secretion of saliva, and increases, accordingly, calcium and phosphorus which are important for strengthening enamel.
The Proper Way of Dental Care:
  • Brush your teeth at least twice a day, especially before going to bed and immediately after eating, and use a tooth-paste including fluoride to remove trapped food and plaque. 
  • Follow a proper way of brushing your teeth, by placing the brush at the gum line, at a 45-degree angle, and make sure that the brush is touching your teeth and gum. Move the brush up and down softly all over the teeth surface (both inner and outer). Then repeat the same process with the following group of teeth, covering 2-3 teeth every time. Place the brush vertically behind and move it up and down, using its front half. Then place the brush on the grinding side of teeth, and move it softly forward and backward. Use the brush similarly to clean your tongue of bacterial plaque.
  • Make sure to keep your teeth cleaning tools clean, especially the brush. It should be fertilized and remain dry and covered immediately after use, to avoid the growth of bacteria on it.
  • Make sure to change your brush every 3-4 months, especially when brush bristles are damaged.
  • Floss your teeth every day, to clean the gaps between teeth and the gum; those unreachable to brush.
  • Visit your dentist every 6 months to examine your oral and dental health.
  • Avoid tobacco-use.
  • Parents have to be aware of the foods necessary for their children, and when to feed them, given the strong relation between dental health and food.
Last Update : 15 March 2018 10:54 AM
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