The dangers of poor oral health

Dentist recommend brushing the teeth gently at least two to three times a day. Failure to do so, can lead to a variety of diseases, like health experts explain below. 

Dr Michel Mbonimana, a dental surgeon at Kigali Adventist Dental Clinic, says that a condition to be mindful about is gingivitis (inflammation of the gum).


This condition results in redness of the gum, swelling of the gum, irritation of the gum or painful gums, foul or bad taste in the mouth, bad breath and then gum bleeding. 


He notes that the conditions above are caused by accumulation of food debris (remaining food around the teeth near the gums) and un-harmful bacteria in the mouth (oral microflora).


Visit your dentist at least twice a year.  Good dental or oral care is important to maintaining healthy teeth, gums and tongue.  File photos

“When an individual does not brush regularly at least two times a day (before bed and morning) and better every after a meal, the risk of getting more plaque and calculus gets higher,  which leads to gingivitis, and later gum bleeding. Therefore, not brushing well and flossing regularly in between teeth leads to gum bleeding,” he explains.

Mbonimana further says that if someone delays getting the treatment which most of the time is cleaning the teeth or oral prophylaxis (a procedure done for teeth cleaning which removes tartar and plaque build-up from the surfaces of the teeth as well as those hidden in between and under the gums), there is a possibility of developing halitosis (severe bad breath), gum recessions (exposed roots of teeth), mobility of teeth, periodontitis (an inflammation of the bone (alveolar bone) supporting the teeth, then later tooth loss and early ageing. 

Some studies show that severe gingivitis and periodontitis can lead to heart problems due to oral bacteria in the blood streams and into the heart lining (endocarditis), premature birth for pregnant women, and birth of low weight babies. 

Research posted by Medical News Today, has shown that there is an association between the health of a person’s mouth and their overall health. Experts consider oral health problems to be a global health burden.

Without treatment, tooth decay or gum problems can lead to pain, problems with self-confidence, and worse. These issues may lead to malnutrition, speech problems, and other challenges in a person’s work, school, or personal life.

The only solution is proper oral hygiene is through brushing teeth every after meals and avoiding in-between meals, and if taken, rinse the mouth with enough water. Flossing regularly in between the teeth and visiting a dentist at least twice a year, every six months for deep cleaning or oral prophylaxis (removal of stains from taking coffee, tea, unripe bananas, among others), Mbonimana adds. 

When it comes to proper teeth health, Dr Roger Namanya, a dental surgeon at Legacy Clinics Kigali, recommends brushing the tongue as well, as plaque can also build up on the tongue, thus leading to a bad mouth odour, and other oral health problems. Which is why the tongue has to be brushed every time a person brushes their teeth.

He notes that drinking water is also healthy because it can help wash out some of the negative effects of sticky and acidic foods and beverages in between the teeth.

Namanya discourages smoking, as it harms the body’s immune system, which makes it difficult for the body to heal tissues, including those in the mouth. Smoking doesn’t only affect the appearance of the mouth, leading to yellowing of the teeth and tongue, it also results in a bad odour.

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