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Understanding Oral Health Conditions: An Essential Guide for General Well-Being

Crop Photo Of Woman Holding A Toothbrush And Toothpaste Oral health is not only about proper care of the teeth and gums. Many times, oral health conditions are indications of a condition in other parts of the body.

Oral health is not only about proper care of the teeth and gums. Many times, an oral health condition is an indication of a condition in other parts of the body.

According to a dentist Birmingham MI, at Birmingham Center for Cosmetic Dentistry, the mouth is the external access to the digestive and respiratory tracts, which means substances that pass through it can cause diseases in other parts of the body, hence the need for its proper care and importance to your general well-being.

What is oral health?

Oral health describes the state of the mouth, teeth, and entire oral-facial structures responsible for eating, breathing, speaking, and smiling.

Your oral health can significantly affect your self-confidence and other social interactions.

If allowed, bacteria can quickly grow and multiply in the mouth, but this is prevented by specific natural defense mechanisms of the body and good oral health care. Without these, the bacteria can increase to the level where they cause oral infections such as gum disease and tooth decay.

A healthy mouth contains tissues that are moist, odor-free, and pain-free. If your mouth is healthy, the gum is expected to be firm, not red or swollen, and should not bleed when brushed or flossed.

Common oral health conditions

Globally, over 3 billion people suffer from diseases associated with the oral cavity, with an estimated 2.3 billion people suffering from tooth decay. Similarly, no less than 80 percent of people are expected to experience at least one cavity by the time they turn 34.

People in the United States (U.S.) spend over $124 billion on dental care annually. Oral disease treatment in the U.S. also results in over $45 billion worth of productive hours every year.

Below are some common oral health conditions:

  • Tooth decay (Cavity)
  • Periodontitis
  • Bad breath (halitosis)
  • Oral cancer
  • Mouth sores
  • Tooth erosion
  • Tooth sensitivity
  • Bruxism
  • Staining
  • Tooth wear
  • Periimplantitis
  • Temporomandibular disorders
  • Cracked or broken teeth
  • Receding gums

Factors influencing oral health conditions

Being healthy does not solely mean you have no disease. Healthiness includes complete physical, psychological, and social well-being.

An oral health condition can affect an individual’s ability to eat, speak, and smile.

Aside from physical discomfort, it can significantly affect the individual’s mental performance and social interactions.

Below are some factors that may influence oral health conditions;

Diet

Diet and nutrition affect oral health, notably the tissues in the mouth. Meanwhile, your oral health affects the nutrients consumed.

For instance, the consumption of sugars has been linked with an increased risk of developing dental caries.

Lifestyle

Lifestyle is a general way of living. Living conditions and behavior patterns determined by socio-cultural factors and personal characteristics play a significant role in oral health.

Lifestyle activities such as smoking can cause oral cancer, periimplantitis, dental erosion, and gum disease. Smokers also have a higher rate of untreated tooth decay.

Alcohol intake has also been associated with oral cancer, halitosis, tooth wear, staining, and periodontal disease. It can also influence individuals’ dental treatment.

Oral hygiene

If you fail to care for your mouth, you may experience plaque buildup, which can cause tooth decay and gum disease.

That is why it is vital to keep your oral cavity healthy by brushing and flossing daily. You should also see your dentist for regular dental checkups and cleaning.

Underlying health conditions

The mouth has its defense system against germs and bacteria. The saliva, for instance, aside from moistening the mouth for comfort and lubricating ingested food as you chew and swallow it, also neutralizes harmful acids and germs, hence preventing bad breath.

You may need to pay more attention to your oral health care if you have underlying health conditions such as diabetes.

High blood sugar can weaken white blood cells and aid bacteria’s proliferation in the mouth. Gum disease may also take longer to heal.

Medications

Certain medications can reduce saliva flow. Meanwhile, saliva is responsible for neutralizing acid produced by bacteria in the mouth, thus helping to defend the mouth against microbes.

The dry mouth caused by these medications can significantly increase the risk of tooth decay.

How oral health affects general well-being

Well-being encompasses the positive state of being comfortable, healthy, and happy. It contains good mental health, high life satisfaction, and prosperity.

Psychologically, it includes a state of positive emotions such as happiness and contentment.

Certain oral health conditions might significantly affect some diseases affecting the body.

Endocarditis, an infection of the inner lining of the heart chambers, is caused by bacteria or germs that migrate from other parts of your body, such as the mouth.

Periodontitis, a severe gum infection that can lead to tooth loss, bone loss, and other serious health complications, has been linked to premature birth and low birth weight.

An oral health condition can impact your overall wellness and affect you physically, psychologically, and socially.

An individual with halitosis, for instance, might experience reduced self-esteem as they might be ashamed to engage in social conversations.

Unstained teeth can also boost confidence, making you feel comfortable publicly smiling.

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