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In the lead up to World Oral Health Day on 20 March 2020, solicitor Divya Anand discusses the importance of good oral health.
By Divya Anand
Why is good oral health so important?
Taking care of your mouth and teeth is important . It is vital for our overall health, but unfortunately, according to The British Dental Foundation, 14% of people are frightened to visit the dentist. Whilst it can be a daunting and nerve-wracking experience for some, there are many benefits in going to see your dentist especially if it helps prevent certain conditions like gum disease.
Ways in which you can encourage good oral hygiene
There are many ways in which you can do this but first and foremost it would be to ensure that you see your dentist and hygienist for regular, routine appointments. Some other recommendations as published on the World Oral Health Day website are:
Brush your teeth properly
This is really important and yet many people fail to brush their teeth for at least two minutes twice a day. You should brush your teeth in a circular motion and not back and forth. Also, once you have brushed your teeth, avoid rinsing straight away as it can wash the protective fluoride from your toothpaste away.
Throw away your worn-out toothbrush
Some people don’t replace their toothbrush when it has clearly worn out. Failing to do so can mean you aren’t brushing your teeth properly.
Using a toothbrush may not reach all those difficult areas between your teeth and so interdental cleaners and floss are encouraged. Regular flossing and cleaning will ensure any trapped food is removed and may reduce gum disease and bad breath. According to the NHS, you may experience slight bleeding when you first floss but carry on flossing and the bleeding should stop as soon as your gums become healthier. In the event that you still experience regular bleeding you should see your dentist to make sure you are flossing correctly.
Tobacco can increase your risk of gum disease and oral cancer. It also leads to yellow, stained teeth and bad breath. According to The British Dental Foundation, almost 2,000 people a year will die from mouth cancer and cases have increased by a third in the last decade.
Cut down your sugar intake
This is the number one reason for tooth decay in adults and children. According to The British Dental Health Foundation, a third of children start school with visible signs of tooth decay. Public Health England has reported that tooth decay could be prevented by cutting down on sugar, and brushing with a fluoride toothpaste. The cost to the NHS of treating oral conditions is about £3.4 billion per year. You may not only require oral treatment due to increased sugar intake, butPublic Health England has also said that regularly consuming food and drinks high in sugar can lead to an increased risk of obesity and type 2 diabetes.
NHS England and the Community Water Fluoridation (CWF) network has recently pushed for community water fluoridation which, according to Dr Nigel Carter OBE, Chief Executive of the Oral Health Foundation, could save millions of children from a lifetime of dental pain and suffering. The Oral Health Foundation, along with the wider CWF network reportedly believes that “community water fluoridation is the most effective public health measure to improving the oral health of children and tackle oral inequality among disadvantaged communities.’ Further, “tooth extraction remains the number one reason for hospital admissions of five-to-nine year olds in the UK while one in seven children under the age of three years old have tooth decay. Fluoridating water supplies would not completely solve this problem, but it would make a significant impact in turning the tide on children’s oral health.
Limit alcohol intake
Many alcoholic drinks contain high levels of acidity and high sugar content which may lead to decay and erode your teeth. Whilst many people may want to enjoy a responsible drink, limiting your intake is encouraged.
Whilst many people in the UK try and maintain good oral health, there are instances where a general dental practitioner may have failed to diagnose decay and gum disease. In such cases, a patient may suffer tooth loss and/or require invasive treatment which could otherwise have been avoided had they been diagnosed and treated earlier. Our specialist dental team has experience with such cases, if you believe that you may have suffered from negligent dental treatment please do not hesitate to contact us to discuss your experience.