Recent scientific research shows that there is a connection between poor oral health and systemic diseases such as diabetes in people of all ages and respiratory diseases particularly among elderly people.
Research also points to a possible connection between poor oral health and conditions such as heart disease and premature, low birth weight babies. Even if poor oral health does not lead to the above conditions, oral disease in itself can cause pain, tooth loss and bad breath.
The main purpose of dental hygiene is to prevent the build-up of plaque, the sticky film of bacteria that forms on the teeth. Bacterial plaque accumulated on teeth because of poor oral hygiene is the causative factor of the major dental problems.
Poor oral hygiene allows the accumulation of acid producing bacteria on the surface of the teeth. The acid eats up the tooth enamel causing tooth decay (cavities). Dental plaque can also invade and infect the gums causing gum disease.
In both conditions, the final effect of poor oral hygiene is the loss of teeth. One should not wait until a tooth is lost to understand the importance of oral hygiene and preventive care.
Many health problems of the mouth, such as oral thrush, trench mouth, bad breath and others are considered as effects of poor dental hygiene. Most of these dental and mouth problems may be avoided just by maintaining good oral hygiene.
Gum disease is a common ailment facing many adults. It is an inflammation of the gums, bones and tissues that surround and support teeth. Gum disease can be difficult to recognize in its early stages as it develops slowly without any real pain.
Gingivitis is the first stage of gum disease. Gingivitis is the inflammation of the gum tissue. Gingivitis begins with the build-up of plaque on your teeth.
The bacteria in plaque mix with sugar from the foods that you eat to produce acids that can attack the surfaces of the teeth and gums.
Prevention is always better than cure. Good oral hygiene habits will keep away most of the dental problems saving you from toothaches and costly dental treatments.
Doctor Martin Kwizera, a general practitioner at the central teaching hospital of Kigali (CHUK) says that the interesting part is that good dental health can be achieved by dedicating a few minutes every day to proper dental hygiene.
A large number of various oral hygiene products, beyond the usual toothpaste and toothbrush, are available in the market to help you in this effort. He adds that unfortunately, most of us remember the importance of oral hygiene only when a problem occurs.
Research has shown that while patient activation can show an immediate improvement in oral hygiene habits, only a small percentage keeps the same standards six months later. Maintaining good dental hygiene should be a lifelong daily habit.
He points out that awareness regarding the importance of oral hygiene has significantly increased in the developed countries, but contrary to that, the modern dietary lifestyle habits are posing a greater risk for oral health.
Healthy teeth not only enable you to look and feel good, they make it possible to eat and speak properly. Good oral health is important to the person’s overall well being.
Daily preventive oral care, with proper brushing and flossing, always helps stop dental problems before they develop and are much less painful, expensive, and worrisome than treating conditions that have been allowed to progress.
It is important to learn how to maintain good dental hygiene from early childhood. Parents should teach their children the proper use of oral hygiene products. Good oral hygiene should be a joined effort involving a person and a dentist.
People should always consult with dentist how to maintain good oral hygiene. The dentist or dental hygienist will give you the proper dental hygiene instructions and teach you the correct way of brushing and flossing.
The dentist will identify your individual needs and help you build your own oral care plan. Generally therefore, preventive measures include regular visits to the dentist, brushing teeth at least twice a day or after every meal, with fluoride toothpaste, flossing at least once a day, and watching one’s diet and avoiding sugar and snacks between meals.