More than 50 per cent of Australians over the age of 65 years have gum disease. Although the dental health of the people in other age categories is better—22.9 per cent of them suffer from periodontitis—the numbers are still high. This is a cause for concern; especially, when you consider that gum infections are preventable.
Regular brushing and flossing prevents plaque from building up, and reduces the probability of an infection in the gums. However, even a robust oral health regimen is not adequate to keep you safe from periodontitis because several other factors are working 24×7 against your teeth and gums. This blog touches on the four most common of them.
Sugary foods are delicious. But your teeth and gums pay a heavy price for the taste. Unless you are in the habit of brushing after each meal, the chocolate you had after lunch or the cake you took in last night’s dessert will stick to your teeth and gums for hours and eroding plaque, the natural coating that protects them.
“To protect your gums and teeth, reduce your intake of sugar and starches” advises Chermside dentist Dr Astha Neupane.
“Change your diet. Make it rich in fruit, vegetables, dairy products, and foods rich in nutrients. That will go a long way to keep your gums healthy and teeth strong.”
Age is not just a number. Our bodies get weaker as we grow older. Gum problems, which do not cause more irritation than a slight itch when you are young, can become painful. Older people are especially at risk; over half of Australian adults aged 65 or above having a gum disease. Besides sticking to a good diet and robust oral hygiene, consult your dentist for prescription medications. Medication can slow down the impact of aging, and keep your mouth healthy for long.
Smoking is not just the enemy of your lungs, its effects are disastrous for your gums and teeth. Victoria state government’s Better Health Channel lists the following malaises to smokers:
• Periodontal disease
• Oral cancer
• Whitening of the oral mucosa (mucus membrane), which is called smoker’s keratosis
• Poor healing after tooth extractions (dry sockets)
• Poor healing after mouth and gum surgery
• Stained teeth
• Bad taste and bad breath
Further, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the United States estimates that:
• Smokers have twice the risk of gum disease compared with nonsmokers
• Gum disease treatments for smokers are not as effective as for people who don’t smoke
• 55 percent of people, who never smoke, have no oral health problems; the number for smokers is merely 36 percent
You can find a longer list of smoking’s ill-effects on oral health on the website.
Dentists in Chermside are not psychiatrists, but many of them have undergone some training to detect stress because stress is a major factor affecting oral health.
In a 2005 study published in the British Journal of Health Psychology, researchers found that stress increases the probability of plaque and gingivitis. A more recent study, published in 2016, finds a positive “relationship between current stress and poor oral health.”
The next time you sense a pain in your mouth, consult your Chermside dentist and watch a Jim Carrey movie.
Although brushing and flossing twice a day is essential to taking care of your teeth and gums, you need to do more. Stick to a healthy diet, stop smoking, and be happy keep your mouth in a good shape.