Oral health includes the health of teeth, mouth, and surrounding structures. Oral health is part of overall health and can cause or worsen other diseases.
Good oral health affects how individuals taste, chew, swallow food, smell, speak and express emotions and feelings.
Poor oral health can cause cavities, gum disease, tooth loss, pain, and discomfort linked to chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart diseases, stroke, and oral cancer.
Gum disease or periodontitis
A buildup of plaque causes gingivitis. It is the mildest form of periodontitis, and treatment eliminates it. Severe periodontitis is a leading cause of tooth loss.
It is the most common chronic inflammatory disease and linked to other illnesses. Gum disease is associated with respiratory conditions, heart disease, diabetes, and osteoporosis. People with gum disease are also twice as likely to die from a heart attack or get a stroke.
Symptoms of periodontitis include;
- pain in the gums
- bleeding gums after brushing or flossing
- loose and separated teeth
- bad breath
- dentures do not fit as well
Tooth loss associated with periodontitis can make it difficult to feeding leading to malnutrition or dehydration. Bad breath can also affect the self-esteem of a person leading to stress.
Ongoing inflammation exposes the gums, allowing bacteria to enter the bloodstream and cause infections in the heart and other body parts.
Oral pain and discomfort
Poor oral hygiene will cause cavities, which lead to pain in the jaws and gums. Tooth pains can cause severe headaches, stress, lack of sleep, and impaired function, affecting life quality.
Pain in the mouth can also make feeding difficult because of challenges in chewing and swallowing food. Inadequate food and drink intake cause dehydration and malnutrition.
Poor oral hygiene is the most significant cause of bad breath. The buildup of plaque, tobacco use, and dry mouth can also cause halitosis.
Severe halitosis can negatively affect the mental health of the individual. It can cause feelings of embarrassment, causing one to isolate themselves and get depressed if left unresolved. Bad breath can also affect food intake.
Dental caries results from poor dental hygiene, orthodontic appliance, gum tissue recession, or some medicines.
Brushing and flossing your teeth twice a day and using mouth wash will eliminate plaque. You should treat dental cavities as soon as possible.
Dental cavities contribute to bad breath, pain, and discomfort, which affect the self-esteem and food intake of individuals.
BARRIERS TO ORAL HEALTH
Good oral hygiene, access to professional dental services, and proper dietary practices are essential for oral health. Some people do not access preventive care and treatments because of various barriers.
- Limited access to professional help due to unavailability of dental services.
- Lack of information on the need for dental care.
- The high cost of dental services
- Fear and trauma associated with dental procedures.
- Social determinants such as education level, low income, and people living with disabilities have more challenges accessing dental health services.
It is essential to remove these barriers to ensure that all people can access dental services.
Dental diseases result from poor dental health, tobacco use, bad diet, medications, and infections. Dental conditions are also strongly linked to chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart diseases, stroke, and oral cancers.
Dental diseases have symptoms like pain and discomfort that can affect food and drink intake causing dehydration or malnutrition. They also cause embarrassment, which contributes to low self-esteem and depression.
Improved access to dental services, public health education, and good hygiene will help reduce dental diseases and enhance overall health.