Your Guide to Better Oral Health

How Do I Take Care of My Teeth: An Expert Advice

Dental care has a huge significance in our lives and should not be taken lightly because it impacts our overall health. Learn how to take care of your teeth here.

What is dental care? Do we really have to visit the dentist every six months?

This is the commonly asked question by patients who rarely see the importance for dental health. At the tender age of five, parents hold the toothbrush and model it for their children. Thereafter, the cycle of brushing teeth is passed on from generation to generation. The adult can further take charge, master the skill of toothbrushing and ramp it up along with flossing – diligently carrying it out without fail, day in day out. This is the underwritten rule for dental care. 

Yet, the question lingers, why visit the dentist for dental care when one is already doing all the necessary?  

To the general public, here’s our answer – your dentist is your oral health care ‘coach’. They corroborate that your dental health is in check by detecting the changes in your oral cavity and assess if any treatments are necessary. This is to keep your dental parameters safe and sound.

It is merely the tip of the iceberg and truly goes beyond just maintaining your pearly whites. Instead, it opens up to a crucial component of robustness known as oral health care. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), oral health is a key indicator of overall health, well-being and quality of life. Approximately 3.5 billion people worldwide are affected by oral diseases as per The Global Burden of Disease Study 2017. Oral health is now treated holistically and is further optimized, taking into consideration an individual’s general health and oral health. For instance, a diabetes mellitus patient is more prone to gum disease and it has been proven through studies undertaken by the World Health Organization (WHO).  

The importance of dental care

Dental care has a huge significance in our lives and should not be taken lightly because it impacts our overall health. The importance of dental care is as deep as the ocean and as wide as the sky to say the least. An article produced by the American Dental Association in April 2006 titled ‘Healthy mouth, healthy body’ expressed the importance in a crisp way by saying, the mouth is a window into the health of the body. The stigma that goes around is always the economic factor – that dentists are expensive. Why is this so? The fact of the matter is, dentistry is reasonable in charges but the exorbitant price paid is usually for negligence. Many people do not deem it necessary to go for routine dental check-ups, yet that is what could save one from paying hefty dental bills later. For example, a simple cavity which could have been treated with a filling might escalate into a root canal and there you go – a hefty bill due to negligence.

The world we live in today is nothing short of an extremely fast paced one. Wherever we are, we are required to put on our A game to stay afloat, and the most basic essence which we should wear with pride is confidence. Now, imagine if you have a missing tooth, damaged tooth structures, bad breath or discoloured teeth which all becomes apparent with the lack of dental care. This takes away your confidence and eventually takes you off your A game because of your insecurities. All this can be avoided completely if dental care is given the  priority it deserves. As the saying goes ‘If there’s a will, there’s a way’ but all you need to do is take that first step out of your comfort zone and get that dental care you need to fix all those dental issues.

In addition, the importance of dental care should not be downplayed, mainly because most dental problems do manifest with some form of oral pain which can sometimes be excruciating. Unfortunately, during the early stages of pain, many would choose to relieve it by over-the-counter medications or home care remedies. They only decide to seek dental care when the pain is unbearable or none of those remedies work. A toothache typically presents itself with some form of pain but if it isn’t treated immediately, it will get worse and cause infections which can lead to serious complications. When this type of pain is present, it could be accompanied with headaches, inability to open the mouth, unable to chew food, and prevention of carrying out your usual routine.

Dental care most definitely can prevent an individual from serious health complications or reveal a health condition. As mentioned previously, general health and oral health are co-dependent. Hindrances to dental care can cause complications which are more than just infections. For instance, gum diseases can lead to systemic health issues and in fact have been linked to heart diseases, diabetes, stroke or even rheumatoid arthritis (www.nhs.uk).  Dental care if not given importance is like opening up a can of worms, it builds up to bigger issues and I believe a stitch in time saves nine.

You might wonder, how does it reveal a health condition? In 2000, the U.S Surgeon General’s report Oral Health in America highlighted numerous ways in which oral health is linked. Oral examinations can reveal signs and symptoms of immunologic diseases ,hematologic conditions, systemic infections and nutritional disorders. Identifying these findings may allow for an early diagnosis as well as treatment. For example, individuals with Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) , bulimia and anorexia would most likely have dental erosion and this conditions sometime goes unnoticed or undetectable but a dental check-up could reveal it and  would further expedite your treatment for the systemic health issue. This is best called as a win-win situation so don’t abandon your dental care. Take charge today. (www.aafp.org)

Dental care tips: How can I improve my teeth health?

Now that the importance of dental care has been laid out, the question that should follow is ‘How can I improve my teeth health’?  Let’s get the ball rolling. The strongest structure in the body is your enamel also known as your pearly whites. It can last a lifetime if proper care is advocated consistently. The rule of thumb is to practice good oral hygiene whereby brushing twice daily and flossing should be carried out to prevent any form of plaque accumulation. Apart from that, having a healthy eating habit with a moderate amount of sugary food and beverages intake, it doesn’t hurt to enjoy a good slice of cake but just practice moderation.

Do make an appointment for a dental check-up preferably twice a year. This would tremendously give you a better outlook on your dental care as to how you can improvise or make changes to your habits as this may sound familiar – ‘better late than never’. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), if you are on any medications that are causing dry mouth, visit your dentist for treatments to counteract it as dry mouth often leads to dental problems.

Dental care in Malaysia

Dental care in Malaysia is picking up its momentum in health awareness. Dentistry has evolved in Malaysia in terms of the technology used and the treatment availability offered to the patients. It is divided into two types known as the primary care which is your dental clinics and tertiary care which is hospitals with a dental unit. This evolution is mainly with technological advancements using the latest imaging techniques such as CBCT, CAD CAM and digital scanners. This has given the advantage for more complex treatments such as dental implants to be done in a swifter manner which is commonly used now as a replacement alternative. Dental implants can be further  dissected as the incorporation of an artificial root that is anchored in the jaw followed by the replacement of the tooth.   Orthodontic treatments or known as braces is also a very common treatment but now with technology, aligners have become trendy because of its advantages. 

Industries have manoeuvred solely into keeping their platforms online and virtual,  giving rise to teledentistry as an upcoming platform. 

What is teledentistry? 

It is carried out by using telecommunication as its main mode of communicating with the patient instead of the old-fashioned way of having the patient physically present. The treatment for teledentistry in Malaysia is exclusively for invisible braces for the time being. This method reduces the number of appointments on site and can be done through self-monitoring with a given secured website. Just like every other approach, there are always two sides to a coin and the same goes with teledentistry. Patient compliance and understanding is important to make sure the treatment is successful as this would directly reduce chair side with the dentist.

In conclusion, dental care is crucial and should not be taken for granted even if it feels arduous. They say love conquers all so start today, show them pearly whites some love and give them some of the deserving dental care which will turn into a healthy habit. Old habits die hard and your teeth will have a longer livelihood. Practice good oral habits and go for dental check-ups because an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. It is evident that oral health is as important as your general health and they both work hand in hand according to (WHO). Carry out your responsibilities and speak to your dentist whenever in doubt about your oral health and don’t wait until it’s too late.

Takeaways

  • Prevention is better than cure, act now and make that change that could save you from a whole lot of dental issues.
  • Dentistry is not costly, but your negligence will cost you instead.
  • The first step of change is often dreaded but once it is done, you never look back and enjoy the process of maintaining your dental health.

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