IT’S A FACT: Untreated dental disease affects over half of the world population,1,2 and chronic gum disease actually affects over 90%.3 But by taking the right steps, there’s a lot you can do to help keep your mouth as healthy as possible. The first step is being aware of the early warning signs:
- Swollen, tender gums
- Bleeding gums
- Bad breath
- Teeth sensitive to hot or cold liquids
These issues are caused by a build-up of bacteria, and are early signs of cavities, gingivitis, or periodontitis. If you notice any of these signs, talk to your dental health care team at Aunt Martha’s to talk about ways to help.
Better Dental Hygiene, Better Health?
The health of your mouth says a lot about your overall health. Likewise, problems inside your mouth can affect your overall health. Everyone’s mouth has bacteria, even healthy mouths. Good oral hygiene, like brushing, flossing, and rinsing, helps to keep the bacteria in your mouth under control.3
YOUR MOUTH CAN ACT AS A POINT OF ENTRY FOR INFECTION. IN FACT, GUM DISEASE IS LINKED TO A HOST OF OTHER DISEASES, SUCH AS DIABETES AND HEART DISEASE.4,5
The healthy smile that comes with good dental health can also improve your self-esteem, boost your confidence, and can even help you be more successful in your career.6,7 Some keys to a healthy smile are:
- Regular visits to the dentist. Even if you are healthy, it is important to have regular exams, cleanings, and screenings in order to prevent the potential risk of disease associated with oral plaque and bacteria.8
- Brushing, flossing, and rinsing. A good dental care routine is key to a healthy mouth. Brushing and flossing are important in maintaining a clean, healthy mouth, but these won’t do the job alone. Using an antimicrobial mouthrinse in addition to these methods can rid your mouth of the germs brushing and flossing tend to leave behind.9
- Reducing your stress. Believe it or not, research has shown that stress levels can play a role in oral health issues. For instance, canker sores may be tied to stress. So spend time doing what you enjoy, and don’t sweat the small stuff!10
Kids and Dental Hygiene
Getting kids to brush their teeth can be a tough job for parents. Many kids would probably prefer eating lima beans to brushing their teeth. The fact is, however, that tooth decay is the #1 chronic infectious disease among children in the United States—which is nothing to smile about.11
Healthy teeth and gums are not only vital to a child’s oral health, but can also impact their overall health as they continue to grow. That’s why it’s important to be sure they start on the right path by teaching good habits early. Anything to keep the routine of practicing proper oral hygiene fun can help, such as using a toothpaste and toothbrush designed for kids.12
CHILDREN WITH POOR DENTAL HEALTH ARE 3 TIMES MORE LIKELY TO MISS SCHOOL DUE TO DENTAL PAIN!11
Infants and children who don’t get proper oral health care are at greater risk for cavities and more oral health issues as they get older. Ways you can help a child maintain a clean, healthy smile are:
- Start them on healthy habits at birth. Care for your baby’s gums by cleaning them after each feeding, and once their first tooth appears, take them to see a pediatric dentist.13
- Make teaching your child oral hygiene fun. For instance, to demonstrate brushing away food and plaque, draw a tooth on a paper plate. Spread some used coffee grounds on the tooth and let your child brush away the grounds with an old toothbrush—this helps to show him proper brushing technique of short and gentle back-and-forth strokes.14
- Maintain a consistent routine. It is recommended that you take your child for a check-up every 6 months. You should also work with your dentist to develop an oral care routine and set-up future appointments.
- Be sure they eat a balanced diet. Providing food and snacks that are protein-rich, high in calcium, and contain a lot of water and fiber goes a long way in helping your child achieve good oral health. If you have questions about your diet, ask your dentist or another member of your care team.15
Pregnancy and Dental Health
During pregnancy, you experience hormonal changes that may affect your dental health. Taking good care of your dental health can help you and your baby stay healthy. It’s a good idea to continue your dental visits throughout your pregnancy.16,17
THE HEALTH OF A WOMAN’S TEETH AND GUMS DURING PREGNANCY MAY AFFECT HER BABY’S GROWTH.18
Here are a few important ways to help ensure the health of you and your baby:
- Visit a dentist before you get pregnant. Have your teeth professionally cleaned and examined to help avoid oral health problems during pregnancy.19
- Avoid major dental procedures. Unless it’s an absolute emergency, procedures involving reconstruction or surgery should wait until after your baby is born.17,19
- Note what medications you take. Let your dentist know what medications you take. Some, like amoxicillin, are considered safe for limited use during pregnancy, while others, like tetracycline, can cause staining of your baby’s developing teeth before they are even born.20
- (1) Marcenes W, Kassebaum NJ, Bernabé E, et al. Global burden of oral conditions in 1990-2010: a systematic analysis. J Dent Res. 2013;92(7):592-597.
- (2) United States Census Bureau. U.S. and World Population Clock website. www.census.gov/popclock. Accessed May 12, 2015.
- (3) Mayo Clinic. Oral health: a window to your overall health. http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/adult-health/in-depth/dental/art-20047475.
Accessed May 2, 2017.
- (4) Diabetes and oral health. J Am Dent Assoc. 2002;133:1299.
- (5) Lamster IB, Lalla E, Borgnakke WS, Taylor GW. The relationship between oral health and diabetes mellitus. J Am Dent Assoc. 2008;139(suppl):19S-24S.
- (6) Padykula J. A healthy smile means healthy self-esteem. http://www.sheknows.com/health-and-wellness/articles/838185/a-healthy-smile-means-healthy-self-esteem. Accessed May 2, 2017.
- (7) WebMD. The mouth-body connection: 6 ways oral hygiene helps keep you well. http://www.webmd.com/oral-health/gum-disease-health. Accessed May 2, 2017.
- (8) Mouth Healthy. Gum disease. http://www.mouthhealthy.org/en/az-topics/g/gum-disease. Accessed May 2, 2017.
- (9) Learn more about mouthrinses. ADA.org Web site. http://www.ada.org/en/science-research/ada-seal-of-acceptance/product-category-information/mouthrinses. Accessed May 2, 2017.
- (10) Know Your Teeth. Mouth sores: caused by student stress? http://www.knowyourteeth.com/infobites/abc/article/?abc=m&iid=298&aid=1148. Accessed May 2, 2017.
- (11) America’s Toothfairy. Facts about tooth decay. http://www.ncohf.org/resources/tooth-decay-facts/. Accessed May 2, 2017.
- (12) Health Resources and Services Administration. Do children have unique needs in the area of oral health? How is oral health relevant to overall health? http://www.hrsa.gov/healthit/toolbox/Childrenstoolbox/PediatricOralHealthIT/dokidshaveunique.html. Accessed May 2, 2017.
- (13) American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry. Frequently asked questions. http://www.aapd.org/resources/frequently_asked_questions/#35. Accessed May 2, 2017.
- (14) Fall For Smiles. Kid’s activity book. Oral Health America. 2014:1-6.
- (15) Mouth Healthy. Nutrition. http://www.mouthhealthy.org/en/nutrition/. Accessed May 2, 2017.
- (16) Know Your Teeth. How does pregnancy affect my oral health? http://www.knowyourteeth.com/infobites/abc/article/?abc=h&iid=325&aid=1309. Accessed May 2, 2017.
- (17) Simple Steps To Better Dental Health. How pregnancy affects your oral health. http://www.simplestepsdental.com/SS/ihtSS/r.==/st.31848/t.35020/pr.3.html. Accessed May 2, 2017.
- (18) Children’s Dental Health Project. Topics and resources. Oral health & pregnant women resource center. https://www.cdhp.org/resources/320-oral-health-pregnant-women-resource-center. Accessed May 2, 2017.
- (19) WebMD. Dental care and pregnancy. http://www.webmd.com/oral-health/dental-care-pregnancy. Accessed May 2, 2017.
- (20) American Dental Association. Oral health during pregnancy. JADA. 2011;142(5):574.