Ask anyone who has ever had a toothache and they will tell you it had a notable impact on their quality of life. Oral health goes way beyond the obvious, though. According to the Canadian Dental Association (CDA), missing teeth, oral pain and oral infections can affect the way you eat, speak and socialize. In turn, these conditions can negatively influence your quality of life by impacting physical and mental health as well as social well-being.
Daily habits make a difference in everything, including oral health.
The biggest culprit? Sugary beverages pose one of the greatest threats to dental health. Not only are pre-teens and teens ingesting high quantities of sugar that increase risk of cavities, but that high sugar consumption can lead to obesity and Type 2 diabetes.
Just good old normal drinking water should be the primary source of hydration and comes without added sugars, sodium, calories or fat, according to the CDA.
There are other steps people can take to protect their oral health. Prevention and early detection are key.
The CDA outlines several essential steps for oral health.
Regularly visit a dentist
Regular dental exams and cleaning are “the best way to prevent and detect problems before they get worse.”
Don’t wait for a toothache or for a dental emergency to find your best Ottawa dentist: ask for referrals from friends, family, co-workers and neighbours or ask your current dentist for a referral if you move.
Healthy food and drink are good for your body, your mind and your teeth
Strong teeth and gums come from good nutrition, according to CDA.
Cheeses, nuts, vegetables and non-acidic fruits make for good, mouth-healthy snacks.
Check your mouth
Gum disease and oral cancer generally have noticeable symptoms. Some symptoms outlined by the CDA: Red, shiny, sore puffy or sensitive gums, bleeding when you floss or bad breath that won’t go away can be signs of gum disease. Bleeding or open sores, white or red patches, tingling or numbness or small lumps or thickening on the sides or bottom of your tongue, the floor or roof of your mouth or your cheeks or gums could be signs of oral cancer.
Alcohol, smoking, smokeless tobacco and vaping can be bad for oral health
Tobacco is the leading cause of preventable death and disease in Canada. Any form of tobacco is detrimental to oral and overall health.
Keep your mouth and teeth clean
It is important to brush twice a day. Floss every day and when done with the floss, roll it into a little ball and place in the garbage.
Oral disease, just like any other disease, needs to be detected and treated.
“A chronic infection, including one in the mouth, is a serious problem that should not be ignored. Yet bleeding or tender gums are often overlooked,” according to the CDA.