Welcome to my blog, this is my first blog post and i will be talking about oral health.
What is Oral Health?
WHO defined Oral Health as the state of being free from chronic mouth and facial pain, oral and throat cancer, oral sores, birth defects, periodontal (gum) disease, tooth decay and tooth loss and other diseases that affect the oral cavity.
Oral health touches every aspect of our lives but it’s often overlooked or neglected. The oral cavity is the window to your body, it’s a diagnostic pointer to how healthy your body is. According to the Academy of General Dentistry, more than 90 percent of all systemic diseases produce oral signs and symptoms, so it’s a vital structure that needs to be cared for.
What does the oral cavity (mouth) consist of ?
The oral cavity consist of:
- Gingivae (gums)
- Palate (roof of the mouth)
- Floor of the mouth
- Anterior two third of the tongue.
Functions of the oral cavity:
- The oral cavity receives food, masticates it with saliva to form a bolus and prepares it for swallowing. Digestion of carbohydrate begins in the mouth with the function of an enzyme called salivary amylase. Also, the surface of the tongue has taste buds which helps in the appreciation of the taste of foods.
- The oral cavity has a role to play in speech function.
- The mouth can be used for breathing because it opens into the pharynx. Though it can perform this function, chronic mouth breathing is discouraged as it can lead to other dental complications.
- The oral cavity functions in smiling, facial expressions, aesthetics (concerned with beauty) and other social interactions.
Why is oral health important?
1. Oral health is important to know how to maintain the normal functions of the various structures, as they perform their role singly and collectively.
2. Oral health is important in preventing tooth decay through daily practice in keeping the mouth clean. If you have experienced a tooth ache, you know it wasn’t a pleasant experience. Symptoms of tooth decay can range from a slight momentary pain or sensitivity to a constant and severe pain. The pain feeling depends on the stage of the decay process or the tooth tissue that has been affected.
Another disease which is worth mentioning is gingivitis also called gum disease which is an inflammation of the gingivae which is primarily caused by dental plaque ( a resilient clear to yellow-grayish substance, that accumulates on teeth. It is composed of bacteria and bacterial derivatives). Some signs of gingivitis include; red swollen and tender gum, bleeding during brushing, an elongated tooth appearance caused by recession of the gum.
Untreated gingivitis can progress to periodontitis ( inflammation of gum and supporting structure of the teeth).
3. The oral cavity is made up of millions of bacteria and their by products which affects the overall health and well being of a person. Studies have proven that oral infection can be the etiology or risk factor in an underlying systemic disease. Theses diseases include cardiovascular disease, infective endocarditis (bacteria infection of heart valves), bacteria pneumonia and low birth weight.
Interestingly, a bacteria found in oral cavity named porphyromonas gingivalis has been linked with Alzheimer’s disease (is a type of dementia that causes problem with memory thinking and behavior).
4. Healthy teeth and surrounding tooth tissue gives you a beautiful smile.
Your smile is one of the first things people notice about you. It gives a pleasant welcome to the people we meet and set the conversation on a friendly note. A beautiful smile is a great asset in interpersonal relationships. It shows confidence, positivity and a high self esteem.
5. Aging is an inevitable process of life. As we tend to get older, the effect of neglect towards oral health plays from the loss of one tooth, subsequent teeth and finally complete edentulism (loss of all teeth). Tooth loss in the elderly can impact on general health, because the absence of teeth affects the choice of food eaten and if severe, it can lead to nutritional deficiencies.
In conclusion, the importance of oral health cannot be ignored as it’s paramount to having good general health. Health is wealth so stay wealthy.
In my next post I will be talking about how to care for the mouth. If you enjoyed this post, I would be very grateful if you help it spread by sharing it.