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5 common oral diseases and ways to prevent them

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Oral health is often referred to as the window to your overall health! People shouldn’t underestimate the impact of poor oral health. It is more important that you realize. Your oral health not only affects your teeth, but it can affect your overall health. In fact, studies have shown that poor dental hygiene means difficulty eating food, which directly impacts our health and the kind of nutrition our body gets.

On the occasion of World Oral Health Day, we want to spread awareness about how important it is to have good oral health. Let’s take a look at 5 common oral diseases and ways to prevent them.

Causes of oral diseases

Health Shots reached out to Dr Vipin Dehane, HOD-Dentistry & Maxillofacial Surgery, Fortis Hospital Mulund, Mumbai. Oral diseases occurs when teeth are constantly exposed to sweetened food and the enamel (outermost layer of a tooth) starts to erode. The decay can spread deeper if not treated on time, leading to staining (discolouration), sensitivity, or pain. Improper and lack of brushing can eventually cause accumulation of food and plaque on the teeth, says

“This will not only lead to dental caries but also the formation of calculus (tartar). Following this, sensitivity, bleeding gums, inflammation and redness of gums, loosening of teeth, or bad breath can occur,” says Dr Dehane.

Beware of these 5 common oral diseases

Let’s take a look at the five most common oral diseases and how to prevent them as advised by Dr Dehane:

1. Dental caries

Dental Caries also known as tooth decay or cavities are caused due to various factors like the presence of bacteria in the mouth, frequent snacking, consuming sweetened drinks and not cleaning teeth properly. “It causes permanent damage to the hard surface of the teeth, which further develops into tiny openings or holes. This condition is more common in children, teenagers and older adults. If the cavities are not treated in time, they can affect the deeper layers of the teeth, leading to infection, severe toothache, and tooth loss,” says Dr Dehane.

2. Gum disease

The doctor explains that gum disease is a serious gum infection that leads to damage to the soft tissue around the teeth. Delay in the treatment, gum infection can destroy the bone that supports the teeth. This can loosen the teeth or even lead to tooth loss. To help prevent gum infection it is important to brush your teeth at least twice a day, floss daily, and get regular dental checkups.

3. Tooth loss

Losing of teeth is common in children during their growing age, however it can happen in adults too. Loss of teeth in adults is irreversible and can only be treated by teeth replacement. Tooth loss can result from a variety of factors including gum diseases, dental caries, and trauma.

tooth loss
Poor dental hygiene can lead to tooth loss. Image Courtesy: Shutterstock.

Also read: Why are my child’s teeth discoloured? Find out the causes of yellow teeth

4. Tooth wear

Generally tooth wear is the irreversible loss of tooth structure, which can often be painful, and unpleasant. The damage can also be difficult and expensive to repair. “It can be caused due to acidic foods or drinks leading to erosion of teeth. Structural damage to teeth can also be caused due to tooth-to-tooth friction, inappropriate brushing, repeated use of a toothpick, and use of hairpins between the teeth,” says Dr Dehane. Hence one should be careful while taking care of their teeth.

5. Oral submucous fibrosis

Oral Submucous Fibrosis (OSMF) is a chronic condition caused due to addiction to tobacco. OSMF tends to grow from the backside side of the oral cavity and slowly spreads outward. It hampers the ability of the patient to consume food. Not intervening at an early stage can also lead to oral cancer. Early detection of this disease is important for the successful treatment and reversal of the disease.

tobacco harms your teeth
Tobacco can be really bad for your oral health. Image Courtesy: Shutterstock

Also read: World Oral Health Day: 5 ways in which drinking water can improve your dental health

How to prevent oral diseases?

Dr Dehane says that a majority of oral diseases can be prevented by:

*Brushing teeth twice daily with fluoride-containing toothpaste. Replacing sugary foods with a diet high in vegetables and fruits is essential for preventing dental caries.

*Basic scaling and root planing (dental cleaning) procedures performed by the dentist.

*Flossing daily along with brushing will prevent plaque buildup between the teeth.

floss
Floss your teeth to reduce the risk of oral problems. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

*As part of the aging process, teeth eventually wear off starting with enamel. Some of the reasons are intake of excessively acidic foods, teeth grinding (bruxism), aggressive and forceful brushing of teeth or acid reflux. Choosing water over a soda or any carbonated beverage is highly recommended to avoid the wearing and tearing of the teeth

*Another crucial factor for having a healthy smile is to refrain from using all forms of tobacco. It can cause staining of teeth, bad breath, gum disease, increased risk of tooth decay and oral submucous fibrosis

*Lastly, it is important to get yearly dental checkups. This will help in the early detection and treatment of any oral diseases.

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