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It is said that oral health is the best indicator of a person's health. A bad oral hygiene translates down to the rest of the organs, reflecting poor health. And, like all other organs of the body, the oral cavity also is aging and therefore, requires extra attention to maintain good health and requires longer time to heal and get back to its original state. So, as the old adage goes, prevention is better than cure.
The following are some reasons why oral health in older patients is very important:
- Food and nutrition: Be it a regular decay or rare cases of oral cancer, poor oral health means reduced food intake. In the elderly, the tissues supporting the teeth (periodontium) deteriorates, leading to loosening of teeth and inability to eat and chew food. This gets into a vicious cycle, and for the elderly, good healthy nutrition is very important for overall health. If decayed teeth and weak teeth are not allowing them to eat well, the overall health takes a toll too.
- Overall health: Poor oral health is associated with higher incidence of diabetes and heart disease. Also, in diabetics especially, the periodontal tissue is easily affected and prone to infection. This leads to not just tooth mobility, but also root caries. The incidence of abscess and cyst associated with root caries is much
- higher than decay in the crown portion of the tooth. The simple logic is that there is more tooth structure covering the crown than the root, and therefore, the decay reaches the pulp a lot more quickly.
- Medications and side effects: Dental pain, those who have experienced will swear to be one of the worst pains to go through. And in old age, it is something that is best avoided. So, better oral care and hygiene measures become all the more important. Once pain sets in, the antibiotics and painkillers become necessary, bringing with them a host of side effects.
Simple Management tips:
- Brush twice a day using fluoridated toothpaste
- Rinse with each meal with a mouthwash is possible, else with plain water
- Floss regularly to prevent interdental caries
- Routine bi-annual visits to the dentist, especially if you are prone for decay or have dry mouth. Whether it is a small decay or a lesion, the dentist will be able to detect it early and arrest and/or treat it
- Don't ignore lumps or sore throat that is persistent
- Quit smoking, use of tobacco (if applicable)
- Healthy diet that is rich in fiber
To avoid the vicious cycle of dental symptoms and complications and their effect on general health, it is advisable to do some basic hygiene measures.
Instead I brush my teeth twice daily, yet I feel bad breath and sometimes bleeding gums too. What should I do?
I am having blackish teeth and have a lot food particles getting stuck within teeth. Even I have swollen gums at those particulars teeth place.
Poor dental habits often invariably lead to complicated dental issues and hence expensive treatments. And, to maintain the general good health of your teeth, brushing is not enough. It is very important to regularly floss too.
Difference between brushing and flossing: For those who consider brushing and flossing to be similar, here is where the difference lies. While you brush your teeth, it's only the surface that gets cleaned. But the dirt that gets accumulated between the gaps of your teeth can only be cleaned by using a thin nylon thread, and that process is known as flossing. Avoiding flossing can lead to cavities and decay and also gum diseases at times.
Benefits of Flossing:
- Reduces the risk of heart diseases: Periodontal diseases, that is, diseases of the teeth, gums and mouth, can lead to heart diseases. Thus maintaining oral health can reduce the risk of any major ailments manifold. It can also help you to avoid the risk of diabetes and high body mass index.
- Cleaner breath: Flossing cleans the dirt between the teeth that gets accumulated when we eat. The accumulated food, if not taken out, starts decaying and creates bacteria and results in bad breath, leaving a bad impression.
- Cleaner and glossier teeth: Flossing regularly keeps your teeth clean and white. It also makes your teeth gleam, making your smile more attractive.
- Keeps you healthy while you are pregnant: During pregnancy, some women suffer from enamel wear and gum diseases. Thus, flossing regularly even while you are pregnant can help you maintain your dental health.
Types of dental floss:
- Waxed and unwaxed dental floss: Waxed dental floss is much smoother than the unwaxed version, and as a result, moves more easily between the teeth. On the other hand, unwaxed dental floss can be a little rough to use in the beginning.
- Teflon floss: Made of Teflon, this type of floss is extremely easy to navigate between the teeth and rarely gets stuck between teeth.
- Thread floss: This one works just like the other flosses, but is simply made of a different material, that is, nylon.
- Tape Floss: As compared to the other type of flosses, this particular floss is a little thick and is suitable for people who have wider gaps between their teeth.
You can also stick to flossing aids for maintaining proper dental hygiene. They are usually perfect for people who find the conventional forms difficult to adapt to. However, such aids may be more expensive than regular flosses.
You can also use a toothpick or an interdental brush in case you wish to avoid flossing. Just make sure that the dirt comes out, no matter which method you take up! Keep Smiling!