Some tortures are physical, and some are mental, but the one that is both is dental. - Ogden Nash.

Alphy Johnson

8/29/20233 min read

Some tortures are physical, and some are mental, but the one that is both is dental. - Ogden Nash.

What is oral health?

Oral health refers to the health of the teeth, the gums, and the mouth that allow us to smile, speak, and chew. Some of the problems that we face due to poor oral health are cavities (tooth decay), periodontal disease (gum), and oral cancer.

If you protect your oral health with good oral hygiene practices (brushing and flossing) you are at a favorable position. Dental plaque must be removed which can cause tooth decay and gum disease. Your mouth is the entry point to your digestive and respiratory tracts and some bacteria can cause disease. Certain medications like painkillers, antidepressants, etc. can reduce the saliva flow, which is good for digestion or neutralizes acids produced by bacteria in the mouth.

Your oral health might contribute to various diseases including:

· Cardiovascular disease: Some research suggests that heart disease, clogged arteries, and stroke might be linked to the inflammation and infections that oral bacteria can cause.

· Endocarditis: This infection of the inner lining of your heart chambers or valves occurs when bacteria enter from another part of your body like the mouth and reach the heart through the bloodstream.

· Pneumonia: Certain bacteria in your mouth may be pulled into your lungs thus causing pneumonia or other respiratory issues.

· Diabetes: diabetes puts the body’s immunity at risk and thus the gums are at a higher risk. Regular care can improve diabetes.

· Alzheimer’s disease: Worsening oral health is seen in Alzheimer’s disease.

Other conditions that might be linked to oral health include eating disorders, rheumatoid arthritis, certain cancers and an immune system disorder that causes dry mouth.

To protect your oral health, practice good oral hygiene daily.

· Brush your teeth at least twice a day for two minutes each time. Use a soft-bristled brush and fluoride toothpaste.

· Floss daily.

· Use mouthwash to remove food particles left after brushing and flossing.

· Eat a healthy diet and limit sugary food and drinks.

· Replace your toothbrush every three to four months, or sooner if the bristles are splayed or worn.

· Schedule regular dental checkups and cleanings.

· Avoid tobacco use.

What is oral cancer?

Cells in the body can grow, multiply and die. A cancer cell is a cell that doesn’t do what it’s supposed to do; it becomes abnormal. Oral cancer is when some cells in the mouth become abnormal and begin to grow and spread. These abnormal cells attack other healthy cells causing damage to the surrounding tissues.

Scientifically the mouth is called the oral cavity. The oral cavity encompasses the inside and outside of your lips, the inside of your cheeks, your teeth, your gums, the part of your tongue that is in the main part of your mouth, the bottom of your mouth, and the roof of your mouth. Oral cancers in the mouth are generally broken down into three main areas: the lips, inside the mouth, and the tongue.

Oral cancer can also be found in the throat, this type of oral cancer is throat cancer, Throat cancer is generally found in the back of the tongue, back of the roof of the mouth, the tonsils, and the area in the upper throat.

Symptoms and Risk Factors for Oral Cancer

Symptoms of oral cancers can often look or feel like other diseases or conditions of the mouth, lips, and throat. The most common symptoms of oral cancer are a sore that doesn’t heal or a lump that doesn’t go away. Some other symptoms that may be signs of oral cancer are unexplained chronic mouth pain and pain in the teeth or jaw, loose teeth, white or red patches in the mouth or throat area, problems with swallowing or chewing, a lump in the neck, or chronic bad breath.

Although there are no known causes of oral cancer, there are several known risk factors. These risk factors can include using tobacco products such as cigarettes or chewing tobacco, excessive alcohol use, a family history of oral cancer, and the HPV virus. Excessive sun exposure is a known risk factor for cancer of the lips.

Foods and drinks that improve oral health.

· Yogurt, milk and cheese

· Spinach

· Almonds

· Carrots

· Salmon

· Lean meat/ chicken

· Apples

· Green tea/ black tea

· Celery

· Water.

The man with a toothache thinks everyone is happy whose teeth are sound. - George Bernard Shaw.