Today (March 20) is World Oral Health Day.
When better to provide this little reminder about the importance of regular dental check-ups?
More than tooth decay can be picked up from these simple trips.
Oral health expert and gum specialist Dr Reena Wadia, Founder of RW Perio, is here to tell us more.
1. Bleeding gums
Bleeding gums are not normal. It’s like an alarm bell — a way of your body telling you that something isn’t quite right.
We wouldn’t ignore bleeding from another part of our body, right? Bleeding gums after brushing or flossing is usually the first sign of gum disease, also known as periodontal disease or periodontitis. This is the most common chronic inflammatory disease in humans. But, unfortunately, it is among the least acknowledged. There is now lots of evidence which suggests links between gum disease and general health conditions, such as diabetes, heart disease and kidney disease, so getting this checked is important.
2. Bad breath
Bad breath, also known as halitosis, affects one third of the population. Concerns about halitosis are estimated to be the third most frequent reason for seeking dental care. The two most common causes of halitosis are a tongue coating and gum disease. However, sometimes halitosis may originate from other parts of the body, and may be signs of another disease. For instance if your breath has a:
Sweet, fruity odour — this can be a sign of ketoacidosis, an acute complication of diabetes
Fishy smell — may indicate kidney disease
Acidic smell — a sign of asthma or cystic fibrosis
Scent of ammonia — can indicate kidney problems
Sweet, musty odour — may signal liver cirrhosis.
3. Dry mouth
The main cause of dry mouth is dehydration.
There are many different opinions on how much water you should be drinking every day. Health authorities commonly recommend around 2 litres a day. Another common reason for dry mouth is due to side effects from medications for general health conditions. Sometimes a dry mouth that doesn’t go away may be caused by a condition like diabetes or Sjögren’s syndrome.
4. Mouth ulcers
Mouth ulcers are painful sores that appear in the mouth. They can be white, red, yellow or grey in colour and swollen. Stress and anxiety are a common trigger for many individuals. Mouth ulcers can sometimes be caused by certain medical conditions, such as viral infections (including the cold sore virus), vitamin B12 or iron deficiency, Crohn’s disease, Coeliac disease or a weakened immune system.
5. Flat teeth
Stress has a big impact on the body, and it doesn’t miss out the mouth.
Tooth-grinding, which can lead to worn down flat teeth, is often related to stress or anxiety. Most people who grind their teeth aren’t aware they’re doing it.
It often happens during sleep, or while concentrating or under stress. As well as flat teeth, this is often associated with headaches and jaw pain. If you are grinding your teeth, your dentist may make you a mouthguard to help reduce this or at least prevent the damage caused by it.
For more health advice from the “Friend”, click here.
For more information on World Oral Health Day, click here.