The mouth interacts directly with the food we eat and the air we breathe. Maintaining good oral health is essential in avoiding diseases that we could contract due to negligence. Containing important organs such as our teeth, salivary glands, and tongue, the mouth is one of the most important parts of the body. Since it is the primary entry point of both our digestive and respiratory systems, our mouths and oral health are an important marker of our overall health status.
Around the globe, approximately more than 3.5 billion people have oral diseases, such as gum disease, oral cancer, tooth decay, and tooth loss, as per the Global Burden of Disease study in 2017. Chronic diseases, autoimmune diseases, and pregnancy can affect the state of our oral health. Even hereditary factors come into play with the kind of teeth and alignment that we are born with. Many things influence and affect oral health, and here are three factors to immediately consider when taking care of it.
Watch what you eat and the nutrition you’re getting
It’s a common belief that anything in moderation, especially when it comes to the human body, is good for us. When the body receives too much or too little of what it needs, that is where problems start to arise. This is the principle behind nutrition too. Our intake of certain vitamins, nutrients, and minerals should be balanced. Teeth and gums are greatly affected by our diet.
Eating calcium-rich food (e.g, dairy products, soy milk, tofu, almonds, dark green leafy vegetables), food containing phosphorus (e.g., meat, fish, dairy products, nuts, beans), and food containing vitamin C (e.g., citrus fruits, potatoes, spinach) greatly help in maintaining teeth and gum health.
Consuming high amounts of sugary snacks and acidic drinks wreaks an acid attack on your teeth. This causes erosion on your teeth’s enamel, the hard outer covering that protects your teeth and the tissues within them.
Aside from your diet, your overall lifestyle, habits, and oral hygiene affect your oral health
A good example of this is in the case of smoking. The tar and nicotine coming from tobacco stains teeth. The practice of smoking long-term itself leads to a dry mouth condition wherein there is slower saliva flow and oral cavity dehydration.
The mouth is filled with mostly harmless bacteria. But having a dry mouth makes it easier for bacterial plagues to occur. Smoking also decreases the flow of oxygen in the mouth, which can lead to gum disease. The habit of biting and sucking on objects can also lead to dry mouth and teeth weakening. Refraining from doing so would help your oral health in the long run.
Oral hygiene has been taught to us since childhood, and diligence in adhering to these practices can prolong the longevity of our teeth even through adulthood. Make a routine out of flossing correctly and effectively once a day and brushing your teeth with toothpaste containing fluoride at least twice a day. But don’t overdo it. The amount of times you floss and brush your teeth does not equate to increasing the benefit you get out of it.
Excessive and incorrect flossing can damage the gums. Over-brushing your teeth can lead to dental abrasions, gum recession, and tooth sensitivity which are not comfortable things to live with.
Make sure to have only dental procedures from licensed dentists/orthodontists and be wary of ongoing trends
A lot of trends and modifications on teeth are going around on the internet and even before it. We’ve seen teenagers filing down their teeth by themselves and having dental braces not put on by qualified professionals. These are examples of bad practices since they can do more harm than good to your teeth.
Steer clear from any dental procedure not done by licensed dentists or orthodontists. If you want to correct teeth alignment, go to the dental clinic and ask about options for dental braces or clear aligners. Permanently changing the shape of your teeth should be consulted first with dentists or orthodontists as well.
There are other dental decorations going around, such as dental grills and tooth jewels. People also get veneers and teeth whitening treatments to improve the appearance of their smiles. All of these are fine in certain cases and fully depend on the preference and feasibility of its application to yourself.
This is why it is important to always ask for advice first from the professionals to assess its long-term effects because what works for others may not work for you.