Oral hygiene aims to maintain overall oral health and keep the mouth free of any disease and problems such as bad breath, caries, etc. Regularly brushing one’s teeth and cleaning the interdental area is an integral component to prevent dental diseases. It is now well established that the oral cavity is the portal to our entire body. The kind of foods we eat and the liquids we drink play a vital role in keeping our mouths healthy. Dietary intake, which includes acidic and sugary components, promotes the growth of bacteria. It results in the formation of acids and damages the intraoral structures. An acid attack causes cavities, gum disease, bleeding, and periodontal diseases. These dental problems eventually cause infections that can spread to other parts of the body. Therefore, it is essential to take care of your oral health.

Reasons why oral health should be maintained adequately:

  1. Impacts overall general health: If adequate oral care is not taken, the oral cavity harbors several bacteria that may cause gingivitis and periodontitis. Studies have shown that bacteria causing periodontal disease are limited to the mouth and spread to different organ systems through the bloodstream. Periodontitis can pose a risk to the cardiovascular system, respiratory system, etc., such that stroke and pneumonia have also been reported. Additionally, inadequate oral health in pregnant women has been shown to increase the risk of delivering preterm and/or low-birth-weight infants.

  2. Damages gingiva (gums) and surrounding bone: Poor oral health is identified by observing bleeding gums, loose teeth, and halitosis (bad breath). It can eventually cause tooth decay and extraction. Hence oral hygiene should be maintained properly.

  3. Delay in timely treatment increases treatments cost (RCT, Implants): It is important to get regularly checked and visit your dentist. A small cavity can be filled with dental restorations without causing any financial burden. However, avoiding dental appointments or saving money just increases the dental problem in the longer run. Oral negligence turns a dental cavity in regular teeth into a tooth that requires root canal treatment and becomes much more expensive. Hence, regular teeth cleaning should be performed, and dental diseases should be treated timely.

  4. Causes tooth loss: Periodontal disease, if left untreated, spreads to the bone and weakens the surrounding supporting structures that maintain the integrity of the root. This weakened periodontal structure results in loss of teeth and can significantly compromise esthetics in the anterior region.

  5. Affects your food habits: Teeth help us to chew food properly. Our nutritional needs are fulfilled once we can chew soft and hard foods with the help of all our teeth. However, oral care negligence can alter the way we eat and what we eat. Decay and fractured teeth make it difficult to eat the healthy kind of nutrition and provide adequate nourishment. Poor dentition leads to deficiency of several essential food components, as chewing cannot be done effectively without teeth.

Things to remember

  1. It is helpful to have regular checkups and meet your dentist. It will prevent the progression of dental disease, provide adequate treatment at an early stage, and help to understand patient’s needs and problems.

  2. Effective tooth brushing techniques should be followed without exerting excessive force on teeth and gums.

  3. Rinse the oral cavity after any food intake to prevent the accumulation of sugary foods on the teeth and mucosa.