The importance of oral health is often understated, and many people don’t realize that poor oral hygiene can have a serious impact on their overall physical health. However, preserving and supporting the health of your teeth and gums involves more than just brushing, flossing and seeing a dentist regularly. There are many dental health threats that people aren’t commonly aware of, which can cause problems despite having a dental care routine that seems sufficient. Here are five “hidden causes” of oral health problems.
Halitosis, or bad breath, is a chronic issue for millions of people that can result in social problems and low self-esteem. Unfortunately, most individuals who struggle with halitosis are at a loss as to what’s causing it and why no treatment seems to work. However, the most common causes of halitosis are mouth-breathing and chronic sinus infections. When these problems are eliminated, halitosis will typically disappear.
Bad Brushing Habits
The importance of regular brushing is something everyone learns with oral hygiene education. However, as with many things, there is a wrong way to do it. For instance, you shouldn’t be too hasty when brushing your teeth after a meal. This is because eating softens tooth enamel, and brushing too soon after will cause it to erode. For this reason, it’s important to wait at least 30 minutes after a meal to brush. Using too firm a brush is another issue. Bristles that are too stiff irritate the gums and cause them to recede over time. Furthermore, while it may seem like more is better, this isn’t the case with brushing. Brushing your teeth too long or too hard erodes enamel and injures the delicate tissue of your gums. You should only use a soft-bristled toothbrush and brush for just two minutes with gentle pressure.
When it comes to oral health and hygiene, it’s not just sugars you need to look out for. Acidic substances, like soda, wine, coffee and citrus cause significant damage to tooth enamel, which increases the likelihood of cavities and tooth decay. It’s helpful to find less acidic alternatives to these, such as green tea, beer and non-citrus fruits. However, sodas should be avoided altogether, as the vast majority contain enamel-eroding acids.
A poor diet causes oral health problems through more than just excess sugars. It also results in nutritional deficiencies. A lack of vitamins and minerals like vitamin D, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, vitamin C, copper and zinc weakens gum tissue, tooth enamel and the supportive structures that hold teeth in place. For this reason, it’s important to eat a varied and nutritious diet, and it’s generally recommended to take a daily multivitamin supplement to fill in any nutritional gaps.
Although prescription medications are often necessary to prevent or control medical problems, they can wreak havoc on your oral health. Birth control pills cause an increase in oral bacteria, leading to bad breath and tooth decay. Others, like antidepressants, antihistamines and painkillers, reduce salivary excretion, leading to chronic dry-mouth and causing tooth decay and receding gums.
Good dental health goes beyond just the basics. By remembering these tips for good oral hygiene and paying regular visits to a dental clinic, you can decrease your chances of not only poor oral health but also poor general health.
By Tully Rickets, a life long traveler with interests in ethnic food and healthy living. When he’s not blogging about healthy behaviors, he enjoys researching new ideas for his book from many blogs and health related websites.