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Would you tell a friend if their dental health was below par?

  • I recently read with interest an article in the Independent that of a poll of 1,000 16 – 34 year olds, found 40 per cent have secretly judged a friend’s poor oral hygiene. A quarter of the respondents said they would avoid friends with dental hygiene issues by coming up with excuses to avoid social gatherings with them.

    By Samantha Swaby

Causes of poor oral health

Poor oral health is often a result of a failure to regularly brush teeth and eating an unhealthy diet. However, there are also cases where people have taken care of their teeth to the best of their ability, but their dentist has failed to carry out adequate checks or advise them of problems, which has led to a decline in oral health.

Impact of poor oral health

There are several studies which have been carried out that have linked poor oral health with a number of implications. A study conducted by the British Journal of Sports Medicine reported that athletes with poor oral health found that this impacted upon their quality of life, with regard to both training and ultimately their performance. This could mean the difference between winning and losing. However, you do not need to be an athlete to experience problems with poor oral health.

Problems that can be experienced as a result of not maintaining your oral health include:

  • Tooth decay
  • Periodontal disease
  • Recurrent infections
  • Eventual tooth loss

A person suffering from poor oral health may also find that they suffer lack of sleep due to dental pain. This can have an impact on work life, necessitating time off work or school. It can also affect a person’s social life, as a person may be restricted in their food choices and may not be able to socialise as often.

The poll reported that people avoid socialising with others with poor oral hygiene. Furthermore, three quarters of people would feel uncomfortable advising their friend that their oral hygiene is poor.

What you should do to maintain your oral health

Keeping your teeth clean by brushing twice a day will combat bad breath and the buildup of plaque. Maintaining a low sugar diet and regularly visiting your dentist will also help reduce the risk of dental decay and gum disease, both of which can result in tooth loss.

What your dentist should do

A dentist has to treat patients with standards of care and there are 9 principles set by the General Dental Council, which they have to adhere to at all times. Principle 1 is concerned with putting patients first and this includes:

That all aspects of their health and well-being will be considered and they will receive dental care that is appropriate for them.

Therefore if a dentist feels that a patient does have poor oral health, a dentist should take the appropriate course of action and administer oral hygiene advice, suggest a referral to a specialist and suggest products that can assist.

If you consider that your dentist has not done so, you should contact us today.


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