22 Need-to-Know Facts Surrounding Oral Health
People are surprisingly unaware of basic dental hygiene. Your oral health is vitally important, but the majority of people lack the necessary knowledge about basic dental care and the best ways to prevent more serious dental issues. We learn to look after our teeth as children, and many of the bad habits that are developed then continue on into adulthood. Even if you brush your teeth regularly, occasionally floss, and don’t use your teeth to open bottles, doesn’t mean that you are looking after your mouth as well as you could be. If you think you know everything there is to know about your teeth, then some of these need-to-know facts might surprise you.
An incredible 74% of UK adults have gone through the experience of having a tooth removed. That’s roughly 60 million people! The majority of removed teeth can be treated these days, and if you have regular check-ups, you can prevent tooth removal from being something that you have to go through.
Saliva – More important than your toothbrush
Obviously, you need to brush your teeth at least twice a day. However, most people seem to think that brushing their teeth is the first line of defence against tooth decay and gum disease. It’s not! Your own saliva is your mouth’s natural defence against forming cavities.
The average human creates 20,000 litres of saliva during their lives.
When you eat sugary snacks or drink sugary beverages, that sugar will stick to your teeth, with the acids then starting to eat through your enamel. Saliva acts to rinse those acids away.
The saliva produced can be difficult to produce in the quantities that you need, especially if you are dehydrated or are on medications that result in a drier mouth. Drinking more water can help with this, although it’s also a good idea to have some sugar-free mints or sugar-free chewing gum as well to encourage saliva generation.
Not Enough Check-Ups
If you only ever visit the dentist when you have tooth pain, you’re not alone. If you commit to regular check-ups, your teeth will have the benefit of ongoing treatment, meaning that your smile can be improved and your potential for tooth loss or gum disease is much reduced.
Eat fewer times
The more times that you introduce sugary snacks or drinks into your mouth, the more chance you have of developing that build-up of acids. That’s why you should reduce your snacking so that you only eat sugary foods once a day. You can still eat the same amount, but if you’re spreading it out over the day in a variety of small snacks, then you’re giving those acids more chance to attack your teeth.
People who drink three or more sugary drinks every day have 62% more tooth decay, tooth loss, and fillings than people that don’t.
Constant and repeated exposure to sugars means that your mouth is constantly battling against acids, and it’s a fight that you will inevitably lose.
There’s no dispute about the fact that fluoride is good for teeth and is a major weapon in the fight against tooth decay. However, too much fluoride can be a risk. While worst-case scenarios can result in fluorosis, this is not a relatively rare concern. You should be aware of the fluoride levels in your water so that you can ensure you are not having too much fluoride intake without realising it.
Spitting out toothpaste
Never swallow your toothpaste. While a little is to be expected, if you’re in the habit of just gulping down your toothpaste when you’re done brushing then you’re probably getting too much fluoride into your system. Another awkward trend that is very common to see is the act of finishing brushing your teeth and then rinsing your mouth out with water. Ideally, you want the fluoride in your toothpaste to have as much contact with your teeth as possible. The longer it’s there, the more good it’s doing.
Your mouth can be an early warning system for more serious diseases. The association between gum decay and health problems such as strokes, Alzheimer’s, diabetes, and even heart disease are not clear, but research that links oral issues and health has been talked about since the days of Hippocrates. Gum disease has also been linked to premature births in the past, so pregnant women are especially encouraged to visit a dentist when they’re carrying.
Brush twice a day
Most people know that they ought to brush their teeth twice a day. It’s very easy to skip a tooth-brushing session at the end of a long day though.
25% of UK adults don’t brush twice a day. As a result, they increase their chances of developing tooth decay by 33%.
Do not underestimate the importance of the twice-daily brush. Not only will it help you to keep plaque build-up to a minimum, but it will also prevent the onset of gum disease as well. You will need to floss as well, as this will remove plaque from those parts of your mouth that even the best toothbrush in the world cannot reach.
One of the main reason why people skip a visit to the dentist is because of the cost. Self-care is also an issue, with many UK residents saying that they’d be happy to drop the expense of oral care products from their shopping list. This is definitely a false economy. When toothpaste can cost less than a pound and toothbrushes are available for the same price, you could be keeping your mouth healthy and avoiding the costs of a dental operation.
Your dentist isn’t just looking at your teeth. They’re also looking at your gums, tongue, and throat. That’s because dentists are always on the lookout for more serious problems. Oral cancer is a very serious issue, but regular check-ups will mean that you have a medical professional giving you a regular once-over and making sure that you’re all clear. Statistics show that oral cancers are more prevalent than ever, with men over 40 being particularly susceptible.
There are some other causes of bad breath, but most of the problems are caused by poor oral hygiene. Most people who recognise that they have a problem with bad breath will simply resort to using mouthwash and brushing their tongue a little more vigorously. While this can help alleviate the symptoms, it may not be a cure.
90 % of bad breath smell is caused by the mouth.
Bad breath may be an indicator of an underlying problem like gum disease, and mouthwash will do nothing more than mask the smell.
Cosmetic dental procedures are cheaper and more accessible than ever before. From teeth-whitening to straightening, if you’re embarrassed by your smile, then there are options. Being embarrassed by teeth is surprisingly common. Don’t let fear of the dentist get in the way of your quality of life. Treatments can be talked about with your dentist, and no matter how serious the problem may be, there are going to be accessible treatments available for you.
Shocking school stats
Children learn by seeing what the adults around them do. If you don’t have a strong oral hygiene routine, then your children are likely to follow suit. That’s why up to a third of UK children are starting school with some form of tooth decay. When a quarter of a million children are at primary school with tooth decay, the long term effects shouldn’t be dismissed. Tooth pain can be very distracting, and children will be unable to concentrate on their education if they are in pain.
Treatment is the only cure
There isn’t a single oral hygiene issue that will go away on its own. Not having the right treatment will mean that you do not reduce the symptoms That pain in your tooth is not going to get better if it doesn’t have a crown or cavity put in. If you have bleeding gums, a painful tooth, or any other concerns that are affecting your confidence or quality of life, then speak to a dentist as soon as possible.
Dentists aren’t painful
That might seem like a massive lie, but newer treatment options have meant dental treatments are not as painful as you might remember from childhood. Even complicated procedures like root canals can now be completed with painless options. Just one in four Brits will admit to being frightened of the dentist, but it remains one of the most common fears. Remember that dentists are aware that people are scared to visit, and modern surgeries now offer a range of options to consider that might make your dentist appointment much more easy to cope with.
The popularity of cosmetics
Cosmetic dental procedures are on the rise, with teeth-whitening by far the most popular. It’s worth remembering that although there are home remedies that can help keep your teeth white, these can be very slow to have an effect or might even be detrimental to the health of your mouth. It is illegal for non-professionals to carry out any form of teeth whitening. It is best to turn to your dentist for any cosmetic procedures. If you are looking for a reliable supplier, you can find suitable products for your practice from trusted dental supplier Kent Express, working in the dental supply companies sector since 1982, with years in the industry and professional expertise to guide you. Their customer care team are on hand to find you the best products for your patients.
Updating your toothbrush
Don’t get too emotionally attached to your toothbrush. No matter how good it is, it’s going to need to be replaced. For some reason, people assume that they need to change their toothbrush every six months, but this is very wrong. Rather, you should be looking for a new toothbrush every three months. If you have any existing issues like gum disease, then you should look at buying a new toothbrush every 4 to 6 weeks.
Rinsing your Toothbrush
Like most people, you probably run the head of your toothbrush under the cold water tap after you’ve finished brushing your teeth. This isn’t ideal. Instead, you should use hot water, as this will help to clean any food debris or bacteria that may be stuck in the bristles. You might also want to consider soaking your toothbrush in mouthwash, but for no more than fifteen minutes at a time.
Looking after your Gums
Up to 85% of Europeans have some form of gum disease. Sometimes, all the brushing and flossing in the world is not going to help you combat an existing case. That’s why this section is all about the facts you need to know to protect your gums a lot more than you currently are.
Spotting Gum Issue Symptoms
These can be remarkably easy to spot once you know what you’re looking for. If you have any of the following it’s worth booking a dental appointment for as soon as possible.
- Bleeding gums on a regular basis
- Puffy, red, or swollen gums
- Bad breath
- Pain when eating
- Loose teeth
- A changing gum line
Family History Matters
Men do tend to suffer from more cases of gum disease, but your family history is worth checking as well. Some forms of gum disease may be hereditary, especially the more aggressive forms. If you have a family history of gum disease, then it’s always worth mentioning to your dentist.
The more that you know about oral health, the more likely that you will encounter fewer issues. Regular check-ups go a long way to preventing both common problems and the rarer ones too. Ignoring mouth problems simply makes them worse, and it’s inevitable that you will end up in the dentist’s chair at some point. Makes sure that you are aware of the best ways to protect your teeth and gums, and those regular check-ups could see your smile looking better than ever before.