Did you know?
- Globally, 3.5 billion people suffer from oral disease1
- More than 50% of children between the ages of 6 and 8 have had a cavity in their baby teeth2
- More than 50% of adolescents between 12 and 19 have had a cavity in their permanent teeth2
- One in four adults between the ages of 20 and 64 have untreated cavities2
Looking after oral health can help your overall health
Did you know that oral diseases, such as gum disease, can impact your overall physical health? The good news is that most oral diseases and conditions are largely preventable and can be treated when detected early. Preventive care is key, including1:
- Brushing twice a day
- Using a fluoride mouthwash or sugar-free gum when brushing isn’t possible
- Limiting the amount of sugar in your diet
- Reducing in contact sports and wearing the right protective gear
- Eliminating tobacco use and limiting alcohol use
- Getting regular dental check-ups
What is oral health?
Typically, we consider oral health to be the health of our teeth and gums. Yet, more broadly speaking, oral health includes our ability to smile, speak, taste, and chew. Some of the most common diseases relating to oral health (or lack thereof) include tooth decay, cavities, gum disease, and even oral cancer.1
What causes oral disease?
Oral disease is linked to your lifestyle habits, such as your diet and more specifically the amount of sugar you consume (and how frequently you consume it), the use of tobacco, and your personal hygiene. Other causes include using certain medications that affect the amount of saliva in the mouth, as well as your family history of oral disease.1
Tooth decay, cavities, and gum disease
In short, tooth decay refers to damage to the surface of the tooth (known as enamel). Tooth decay leads to cavities, which are holes in the teeth caused by bacteria. If left untreated, tooth decay can lead to abscess in the jaw, under the gums.3
Gum disease, also known as periodontal disease, is a serious infection that damages the soft tissue of the gums and bone around the teeth. It causes inflammation in the gums and can be extremely painful. If left untreated, not only will the gums become infected, but the bone that supports the teeth will deteriorate. Teeth that aren’t supported may become loose and may eventually be lost or need to be extracted.3
Going for dental check-ups
For many of us, going to the dentist isn’t a particularly pleasant experience. But dental check-ups are important for your overall health and well-being. Remember, preventive care is key. And as untreated dental problems can cause pain and lead to tooth loss, it is important to go for regular check-ups.
During a dental check-up your dentist will look for any dental problems (such as cavities) and recommend further treatment if necessary. While it is often recommended that you go for a dental check-up every six months, depending on how healthy your teeth and gums are, this can vary from every three months to every two years. Your dentist is the best person to advise you in this regard.
If you have questions about dental health contact your dental provider for advice and support.
1. World Health Organization, Oral Health, https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/oral-health. Updated November 18, 2022.
2. Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Oral Health Conditions, https://www.cdc.gov/oralhealth/conditions/index.html. Last reviewed April 6, 2022.
3. NHS Inform, Your dental check-up, https://www.nhsinform.scot/healthy-living/dental-health/visiting-the-dentist/your-dental-check-up. Updated August 4, 2022.
This information is for educational purposes only. It's not medical advice. Always consult with your health care provider for appropriate examinations, treatment and health care recommendations.
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