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Oral Health – Having the Power to Smile

Submitted by on September 15, 2013 – 10:58 PM

Early-Intervention-can-make-a-significant-difference-to-your-childs-smileHealth is wealth. There is no doubt that this proverb has proved itself practically true in our field. The word health does not only mean your sugar level, blood pressure, obesity, pulse rate, coughing, sneezing, etc. But it also means your oral health, the health of which is prime importance behind the background of most of the diseases and health problems circulating around the entire globe as we are what we actually eat.


The better you eat the better is your mental and physical health and vice versa. Eating through your oral cavity not only shows your body physique but also what mood you possess, what circumstances you have, what profession you have, what gender and social class you belong to, and so on and so forth.


Apart from our tongues, teeth and gums, our oral cavity is also comprised of bacteria and other micro-organisms. If you’re not a new-born baby, it means you have them, and if you have them, you also need to manage them. A universal cure does not exist, so they’ll always stick with you, but you have to be careful not to let them invade your teeth and gums, as bad things could happen. You can’t escape them, but you can manage them.


Oral bacteria will always be in your mouth. But if you stop monitoring them, the consequences can be devastating. You have to constantly manage the oral bacteria community, at least through daily brushing and flossing your teeth.


It’s not only about teeth and gums. One of the most dangerous diseases associated with oral bacteria is periodontitis. Complications can occur and links have been drawn to heart disease.


Certain types of bacteria, however, can attach themselves to hard surfaces like the enamel that covers your teeth. If they’re not removed, they multiply and grow in number until a colony forms. More bacteria of different types attach to the colony already growing on the tooth enamel. Proteins that are present in your saliva also mix in and the bacteria colony becomes a whitish film on the tooth. This film is called plaque, and it’s what causes cavities.


Certain types of bacteria accumulate on the papillae (the small projections that cover the tongue) and create red blood cell pigments, which can make the tongue look black. And if the normal shedding of the outer layer of cells on the tongue is inhibited, the papillae are larger and the tongue can appear “hairy.”


A beautiful smile does as much for your appearance and self-esteem as a great lipstick or mascara. So think of flossing as part of your beauty routine. When the carbohydrates in the food and drinks that you consume aren’t cleaned from the teeth regularly, they provide fuel for cavity-causing bacteria. These bacteria can start forming plaque on teeth within 20 minutes of eating, so if you’re a frequent snicker, you may want to clean your teeth more often than twice a day.


The truth is, bacteria are almost always present in the mouth, and frequent cleaning — and limiting sugary foods — may help prevent decay. If you don’t clean your teeth well every day, you’re putting yourself at risk for tooth decay. Early signs of decay include visible holes in your teeth, pain when you bite and feelings of sensitivity or pain in your teeth.


Diabetes is one of the most common endocrine disorders. People with diabetes are at greater risk for infections and often suffer from dry mouth, which can promote tooth decay and gingivitis. And because people with diabetes are also prone to poor healing of oral tissues, gingivitis can be more difficult to treat if it does occur. This is why a regular oral care routine is especially important. If you have sensitive teeth or gums, choose a toothbrush with soft bristles and a soft floss to minimize discomfort.


Toothaches have many causes, from gum disease to jaw clenching, but tooth root sensitivity can also cause a tooth to ache. The tooth root includes the lower two-thirds of the tooth, and it is usually buried in the jawbone. But when gum disease develops, the bacteria that cause the disease can also dissolve the bone around the tooth root. The combination of dissolved bone and receding gums means that more of the tooth root is exposed. Without protection from healthy gums and healthy bone, the root often becomes sensitive to hot and cold and to sour foods.


In some cases, the sensitivity is so severe that you may avoid very hot, cold or sour foods. Ironically, chronic bad breath has not been associated with a black hairy tongue, but using certain mouthwashes may increase your risk. Mouthwashes containing astringents (such as menthol or witch hazel), or full-strength oxidizing agents such as peroxide, may increase your risk of developing a black hairy tongue if you use them excessively. Fortunately, a black hairy tongue will usually resolve if you take these simple steps:


Brush. Gently brush your tongue with a toothbrush twice a day as part of your daily dental care routine. Once the problem is resolved, it is still a good idea to brush your tongue-you can help prevent the black tongue from coming back. Double Rinse. Use a dilute solution of one part hydrogen peroxide to five parts water to rinse your mouth, then rinse again with plain water.


Studies have shown that your smile is one of the most important things that people will remember about your appearance – not whether you are five pounds overweight or what color or style of jacket you were wearing. So whether your goal is to impress a potential boss or client, woo your date (or spouse), or to just feel better about your appearance every time you look in the mirror, floss once a day-and don’t forget to smile! You’ll enjoy the dental health benefits of clean teeth and the psychological benefits of a stunning smile.

About the Author:  Fiza Saeed Shah is a first year BDS stuednt. She can be reached at [email protected]

About this article: This article is competing for the JPMS International Medical Writing Contest 2013

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