“Peace begins with a smile”- a famous quote by Mother Teresa. A smile indeed is one of the most beautiful means of communicating your emotions even without words. So, in order to do that you need to make sure that your pearly whites are indeed bright and healthy.
World oral health day
March 20 is celebrated worldwide as oral health day to spread awareness on the importance of oral hygiene. World Oral Health Day is an initiative by FDI World Dental Federation that has been running the campaign for the year 2021-2023 under the theme “Be Proud of Your Mouth.” The first year of the campaign focused on the importance of oral health on overall health, 2022 focused on how a healthy mouth is important for our happiness and well-being, and in 2023, the aim is to focus on the importance of caring for your mouth at every stage of life.
So let’s see how we can take care of our oral health.
The health mirror
Oral diseases are one of the most common noncommunicable diseases, affecting an estimated 3.5 billion people worldwide. They have serious impacts on the health and financial status and can reduce the quality of life of those affected. Oral health is the overall health of the mouth, teeth, and orofacial structures that enable individuals to perform essential functions such as eating, breathing, speaking, etc.
The most prevalent types of oral diseases include dental caries (tooth decay), periodontal disease (gum infection), tooth loss, cancers of the lips and oral cavity, cleft palate, and lips, etc. Since your mouth is one of the entry points to your body, poor oral health can cause problems with your digestive, respiratory, cardiac health, etc.
Brush away the caries
Oral diseases can have multiple risk factors and causes. Some of the common ones are bacterial infections, excessive sugar consumption, tobacco use, high alcohol intake, poor hygiene, heredity, etc. Oral diseases may also be caused due to other underlying health conditions such as a weakened immune system, diabetes, pregnancy, etc. The treatment and management plans vary depending on the cause. However, most oral diseases are preventable. Following a basic oral health care routine can keep many of these diseases at bay. These include:
- Use a fluoride toothpaste.
- Brush your teeth thoroughly twice a day and do daily flossing to remove dental plaque
- Avoid tobacco products and quit smoking habits
- Reduce intake of alcoholic beverages
- Drink plenty of water and chew sugarless gum if you have a dry mouth
- Keep your blood sugar levels under control
- Visit your dentist at least once a year
Keeping the smile intact
As you age, your oral health requirements also change. As this year’s oral health day theme is to take care of your mouth at every stage of life, let’s see what practices you can follow to take care of your oral health based on your age.
After birth: Milky teeth are as important as permanent teeth as they determine the permanent ones' proper positioning. Parents or caregivers can start baby oral care by wiping the gummy area with a clean cloth before teeth form. Once they start forming, do gentle brushing. Teach the child to do it on their own as they grow up.
For teens: Regular brushing and gentle flossing are recommended. Avoid excessive consumption of sugary foods, carbonated beverages, etc. In case of painful wisdom teeth eruption, consult a dentist. For those engaged in games or sports, wearing a mouth guard to protect their teeth, jaw, face or lips, is also recommended.
For adults: Follow proper brushing technique by using a soft bristle brush. Avoid unhealthy practices that may cause tooth decay and other dental problems such as tobacco use, smoking, alcohol drinking, etc. Monitor sugar levels routinely. A regular visit to the dentist is also recommended.
For people above 60: Prosthesis of teeth in case of missing or fallen teeth may be suggested to provide aesthetic value as well as proper function like biting and chewing. Regular scaling can be done to prevent gum diseases. In case of dry mouth, consult your dentist for proper medications and gels.
Life is like a mirror reflecting your feelings, your actions, and your thoughts. And your oral health is the best reflection of your overall health. Better teeth, better health. And no matter what the trend is, teeth are always in fashion!