Dental hygiene and oral health are as necessary and important as the body’s overall health. Oral hygiene determines the overall health of a person. It is not just about teeth and gums. Regular brushing, flossing, and health checkups can promote good oral hygiene. To maintain healthy teeth, care should be given all through the lifetime. Taking care and following regular cleaning habits can prevent many teeth problems and oral problems including tongue infections.
Common teeth problems are cavities, plaques, decay, tooth erosion, gum infections, and gum diseases. They can cause pain and discomfort, may affect a person’s ability to chew, eat, bite, and might harm an individual’s self-esteem. Dental problems are common health conditions that many people ignore. They may also be symptoms of an underlying medical condition or cause chronic problems if left untreated.
Dental and oral health is an essential part of your overall health and well-being. Poor oral hygiene has been linked to major illnesses like heart disease, cancer, and diabetes.
Bad breath, or halitosis, is one of the common oral health problems that are usually a sign of other dental problems such as gum disease, cavities, or oral cancer.
Tooth decay or cavities is the most common dental problem affecting all age groups, even infants. They are caused by plaque from food high in sugar or starch content settling on the surface of the teeth. Bacteria inside your mouth feed on sugar and starch thus leading to the deterioration of the protective coat of the teeth. The bacteria in plaque produce acids that can harm enamel and cause cavities. This leads to tooth decay.
Gum disease or periodontal disease is an infection in the gums around the teeth. It is most common in adults. It’s also a major cause of adult tooth loss. Some studies show a link between gum disease and heart problems. Gum disease, also called gingivitis, is inflammation of the gums. It’s usually the result of plaque building up on your teeth due to poor brushing and flossing habits. Gingivitis can make your gums swell and bleed when you brush or floss. Untreated gingivitis can lead to periodontitis, a more serious infection
Gingivitis occurs when plaque accumulates between and around teeth and infects the gums, causing irritation and swelling. Gingivitis can progress to periodontitis, which can cause bleeding gums, painful chewing, receding gums, and tooth loss.
Tooth sensitivity is a common problem. Sensitivity involves pain or discomfort from sweets, cold air, hot drinks, cold drinks, ice cream, etc. People with sensitive teeth may experience discomfort and pain when they eat cold or hot foods. Tooth sensitivity can occur when the enamel of the teeth is damaged.
Tooth erosion means loss of tooth structure. It is caused by excessive acid attacking and eroding the enamel. Symptoms usually range from mild sensitivity to more severe problems such as cracking of the tooth. Tooth erosion can be easily prevented with proper oral care.
Cracked or chipped tooth
A tooth can get cracked or broken during an accident or injury. Sometimes teeth get chipped or cracked from chewing or biting hard things or grinding the teeth. a broken or cracked tooth can be very painful and treated as an emergency.
An impacted tooth is a tooth that fails to erupt at the right time or does not erupt at all. This causes severe discomfort, toothache, jaw pain, and sometimes crowding due to lack of space.
Oral cancer is commonly caused by smoking and drinking. Smokers and alcoholics need to undergo regular dental checkups and get their teeth cleaned to decrease the chance of getting oral cancer. Oral cancer affects the mouth, lips, tongue, tonsils, and oropharynx. The main sign is the appearance of sores and lumps that do not heal.
This condition is also called xerostomia. As the name indicates there is dryness of the mouth due to insufficient secretion of saliva to keep the mouth moist. Saliva has antibacterial properties which prevent the bacterial build-up inside the mouth that keeps plaque off of the teeth surface. It is caused by several factors such as smoking, certain medication, ageing, and stress.
This leads to cavities, bad breath and tooth decay.
Root infection occurs when bacteria invade the root and pulp of the tooth. This leads to severe toothache, sensitivity and the formation of an abscess.
Bruxism or teeth grinding is caused by mental irritability, stress or anxiety. Continuous grinding leads to wearing down the rough, biting surfaces of teeth, making way to tooth decay.
General symptoms of dental problems
Symptoms can vary depending on the cause. However, common symptoms of dental problems include:
- Bad breath
- sensitivity to cold or hot food or drinks
- Loose teeth
- Sudden pain when eating cold or sweet foods
- Tooth changing color or shape
- Worn teeth, including holes, cracks, or chips on the tooth
- Bleeding or swollen gums
- Gum pain
- Swollen cheeks
- Clicking jaw
Bacteria can spread from your oral cavity to your bloodstream, causing infective endocarditis. Infective endocarditis is a life-threatening infection of your heart valves.
9 ways to keep your teeth healthy
1. Brush Twice Regularly
Brushing twice a day and using dental floss can help keep teeth and gums healthy. Most people know that brushing their teeth twice a day is one of the most important practices for removing plaque and bacteria and keeping teeth clean. Brush using small circular motions, taking care to brush the front, back, and top of every tooth. Gently brush your tongue every time you brush your teeth.
Brushing too hard or using a hard-bristled toothbrush can damage the tooth enamel and the gums. This might lead to tooth sensitivity, damage to the protective enamel, gingivitis and tooth erosion. Use a toothbrush that has soft bristles. It is advised by dentists to change their toothbrushes every 3 months.
2. Drink more water
Drinking more water not only keeps you hydrated but also cleanses the mouth and prevents dryness of the mouth. Drink water after every meal as it cleans the teeth off food debris.
3. Eat crunchy fruits and vegetables
Avoid eating junk foods, and soft food. Eat fresh fruits, nuts, crunchy foods, and foods that are rich in healthy fiber. They are good for the teeth as they should be chewed well. This makes the teeth stronger.
4. Use fluoride toothpaste
Make sure your toothpaste contains fluoride because fluoride helps prevent cavities and tooth decay. Nowadays it is a common ingredient in many kinds of toothpaste and mouthwash. It helps to fight the germs that lead to tooth decay by providing a protective barrier for the teeth.
5. Floss once a day
Flossing a day helps to keep the plaque away. Flossing regularly helps to prevent the formation of plaque, and to remove the plaque and bacteria from between the teeth, wherever the toothbrush is not able to reach. It prevents bad breath by removing debris that is trapped between the teeth. It also stimulates the gum and prevents gingivitis.
6. Get regular dental checkups
Regular dental check-ups and cleaning should be done every six months once to maintain proper oral health. The dentist will be able to diagnose cavities, gum disease, mouth cancer, and other oral health issues at an early stage. A dental hygienist will clean the teeth and remove plaque and hard tartar layered on the teeth.
7. Avoid smoking, alcohol and tobacco
Smoking and chewing tobacco are the main risk factors for gum diseases and oral cancer. It also slows the healing process of the mouth sores and inflammation of the gums. It also affects the colour of the teeth like yellowish discolouration of the teeth and the tongue and leads to bad breath, plaque build-up and tooth loss. Similarly, alcohol causes dryness of the mouth and reduces the secretion of saliva leading to the build-up of bacteria and plaque. Since most alcohols are acidic, it leads to tooth decay and tooth loss.
8. Consider a mouthwash
Mouthwashes are usually used to prevent and avoid bad breath. But it has been proven to be effective in maintaining good oral health. Certain mouthwash containing chlorhexidine, an antibacterial compound and some essential oils helps to control plaque and gingivitis. Regular rinsing with a fluoride mouth rinse helps to strengthen tooth enamel.
9. Limit sugary foods and starches
Too many sweets and sugary foods and drinks can lead to cavities. The most common sweet foods that cause cavities are sweet candies, sugary drinks, desserts and many processed foods containing added sugar. Sugar and starch get converted into acid in the mouth and damage the enamel of the teeth. This leads to cavities and tooth decay. Certain acidic fruits, too much caffeine, and tea also cause erosion of teeth.
Steps to protect the teeth of the kids
- Once a baby starts to develop teeth the parents should brush them twice a day with a soft baby toothbrush.
- Use toothpaste that is specially formulated for infants and kids. Make sure it contains a little amount of fluoride.
- Parents should brush or help the child to brush their teeth until they can do it on their own without any help.
- Always make sure that they spit out the toothpaste.
- Keep the toothpaste out of children’s reach when it is not in use.
- The children should start seeing the dentist within 6 months of the appearance of the first tooth.
- The kids should have separate eating bowls, plates and spoons. The feeding bottle, rubber nipples and pacifiers should be cleaned separately and properly to prevent infections.
Homeopathic medicines for teeth troubles
There are many homeopathic medicines for teething troubles, teeth problems and gum diseases. Some of the remedies are given below.
- Aconitum napellus: it is indicated when the teething is very painful, and the baby seems agitated or fearful. The gums are inflamed, and the child cannot sleep due to pain and restlessness.
- Calcarea phosphoricum: it is indicated for teething problems in infants. It helps to reduce tooth decay and induces the timely eruption of teeth. It is helpful for children with delayed teething, retarded growth, and milestones. Irritability with diarrhoea during dentition. Teeth tend to decay early and rapidly.
- Belladonna: it is indicated for inflammation and pain in the gums with flushing of the face and a feeling of heat. Severe toothache due to tooth decay
- Calcarea carbonica: it is useful in cases where the teething is late, slow and difficult. The baby looks sad or anxious with the pain, chewing and pressing the gums together even while sleeping due to pain and irritation of the gums.
- Plantago: Plantago is one of the foremost homeopathic remedies and the most frequently used medicine for toothache and for treating sensitivity. The pain extends from teeth to ears. It can be taken internally as well as applied externally for faster relief.
- Staphysagria: it is indicated for the sensitivity of teeth which gets worsened by taking any drink or food. Toothache with bleeding gums and excess salivation.
- Arnica: it is useful after any dental procedures to relieve the neuralgic pain in the teeth and gums and prevent infection. It is very effective when taken along with Hypericum, another homeopathy medicine.
- Merc Sol: it is very useful in cases of halitosis and excessive salivation along with toothache. It is also useful to treat gingivitis with bleeding gums, loosening of teeth, and sensitivity of teeth.
- Hecla Lava: it is indicated for toothache along with pain in the jaw. It relieves the pain and swelling.
- Chamomilla: it is one of the best homeopathic remedies to relieve the sensitivity of the tooth. It is also useful to treat toothache. Teeth are sensitive to any drinks and food that is hot or cold.
- Coffea Cruda: it is indicated for toothache and sensitivity of the teeth. There is trouble sleeping because of teething pain. Distressing pain in the gums is relieved by holding cold water in the mouth.
- Kreosotum: it is useful in cases where there is severe pain and discomfort during teething, there is increased salivation and the tooth decays soon after it erupts. It is generally used for severe toothache from cavities and tooth decay.
- Silicea: it is indicated for difficult teething and delayed milestones. The child is susceptible to cold and frequent infection that makes the baby tired and weak.
- Cina: it is indicated for extreme irritability in children during teething. The irritability is so severe that the child weeps, screams, bites and strikes others and wants to be carried all the time. Disturbed sleep due to restlessness.
Some of the speciality products available for dentition and teething troubles are Dr. Wilmer Schwabe India’s, Teething Problems in Children Combo, Calciokind, Chamodent, Biocombination 18, Biocombination 23, Biocombination 21, Kindival, B&T Dental Care Gel, Essentia Infantica, Daphne Indica 1X, etc.