International Dentist Day are celebrated in October, and it is important to take advantage of the issue to raise awareness about oral health and how the lack of proper care can affect our body.
Among the most common oral problems among the Brazilian population is gingivitis, which can progress to periodontitis if left untreated. And not treating periodontitis, when it is in a severe stage, can lead to problems in the heart, blood vessels and lungs. According to the Brazilian Association of Dentistry (ABO), less than 22% of adults and 8% of the elderly have completely healthy gums.
The dental surgeon Patricia Tosta, a specialist in periodontal treatment, implants and prostheses, explains, guides and gives some important advice for oral health.
Heart and Lung Problems
According to Dr. Patricia, taking care of your teeth is not just a question of aesthetics, but of health. When oral health is not in harmony, the normal bacteria and fungi present in the mouth can multiply and reach other organs. Periodontitis, for example, can cause heart and lung problems, as the American Dental Association (ADA) already attests.
She also showed that many systemic diseases can arise from oral infections. An example is bacterial endocarditis, which is a serious infection of the heart valves or surfaces of the heart. “The bacteria that cause this problem could come from oral diseases or from a lack of basic oral hygiene care, such as brushing your teeth, for example.”
What is a Healthy Mouth?
Oral health means not only the absence of cavities or gum disease, but also the balance that results from maintaining good oral hygiene, proper bone formation and proper nutrition. There are several factors as explained by the surgeon.
The mouth and teeth play an important role in our daily lives. In addition, the smile is the most attractive facial expression for people, and the teeth also play an important role in it. The Dr. advises. Patricia.
How to Take Care of your Oral Health
To achieve a beautiful and healthy smile, it is necessary to follow proper oral hygiene habits, which should begin at an early age, with brushing the teeth after each meal, and end with brushing the tongue, as well as the daily use of dentures. floss.
- Always brush your teeth after meals.
- Clean the tongue, gums and cheeks
- Floss at least once a day.
- Use mouthwash 2-3 times a week. D. Patricia warns
- Change the brush every time the bristles open.
- Use a soft toothbrush that is the right size for your mouth.
- Get an effective cleaning at the dentist every 6 months to remove plaque and tartar
- The diet should be healthy, and reduce the intake of sugars “even in a bottle, especially before going to bed and between main meals”, as indicated by the surgeon.
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The Most Serious Dental Problem
Dental caries: is the demineralization of the teeth, which occurs when certain types of bacteria produce acids that destroy the enamel and the layer of the tooth directly below it, the dentin. “However, the lesion only manifests itself in cases of imbalance in the microbiota that normally lives in our oral cavity, due to the consumption of sugar”, explains the surgeon.
- Pain, edema (swelling), bad breath, and change in occlusion (setting of the teeth)
- Loss of form (esthetics) and function (masticity)
- Pulp necrosis (mortification) and the consequent need for root canal treatment, with the possibility of localized pus formation “that can spread to other parts of the body, in addition, there may be a need for dental extraction,” adds Dr. Patricia.
Gingivitis: It is the inflammation of the gums, which is the initial stage of gum disease and the easiest to treat. Its most famous features are redness, swelling, and bleeding. The direct cause of the disease is plaque, a sticky, colorless layer of bacteria that constantly forms on the teeth and gums. If plaque is not removed by daily brushing and flossing, it produces toxins (acids) that irritate the lining of the gums and cause gingivitis. “At this early stage of gum disease, the damage can be reversed, as the bone and connective tissue that hold the teeth in place has not yet been reached. However, if gingivitis is left untreated, it can progress to periodontitis and cause permanent damage. to the teeth.” Patricia .
Periodontitis: Periodontitis Is an infectious bacterial disease that significantly affects the supporting tissues of the teeth, such as the bone and ligaments that support the teeth. The disease is an advanced stage of periodontitis. D. Patricia warns.
Advanced periodontitis is characterized by the death of gum tissue, the ligaments of the teeth, and the supporting bones. It is caused by a lack of blood supply, necrosis, which leads to a serious infection.
Treatment consists of abrasion on the crown and root of the tooth to remove plaque that has calcified and turned into tartar. In more advanced cases, surgery is required to reduce the pockets and bone grafting to restore lost bone.
Halitosis: Bad breath is a chronic problem that affects 40% of the Brazilian population. According to the Brazilian Association for the Research of Odors in the Mouth (ABPO), four out of ten people suffer from this problem.
“Bad breath is not always associated with an upset stomach,” explains Dr. Patricia.
Sensitivity: Dentin hypersensitivity is defined as an exaggerated sensitivity to vital dentin exposed to thermal, chemical, and tactile stimuli. Exposure of the dentinal tubules is responsible for lowering the patient’s pain threshold.
“Under normal circumstances, the dentin, which is the inner layer that surrounds the nerve, is covered by the enamel of the crown and the gums that surround the tooth. Over time, the enamel can wear away, reducing protection. In addition Over time, the gums can recede, exposing the age of the root”, explains the surgeon.
Dentin exposure can occur as a result of several factors. The most common are:
- Gum recession due to age or insufficient brushing
- Acidic drinks (such as soda) that erode enamel and expose dentin
- Bruxism, which actually causes all or most of the teeth to become sensitive
- Brushing your teeth with a very abrasive toothpaste and/or brushing your teeth more than three times
- Gingivitis, which can cause gums to recede
- Chipped or broken teeth, with exposed dentin
During a Pandemic
Patricia notes that dental offices have always been prone to contamination with certain diseases, such as HIV and hepatitis, so clinics are often very careful about hygiene. But as the COVID-19 pandemic unfolds, attention must be intensified:
Reduce the number of registered patients
Wear a mask the entire time you are in the office
Upon entering the clinic, you must immediately wash your hands or use 70% alcohol
Do not go accompanied except in specific cases such as children, the elderly and people with mobility difficulties.
Oral Infections and Cancer
According to the Department of Health (MS), anyone over the age of 40 who consumes or has been a frequent consumer of tobacco and alcoholic beverages should request a health professional to perform a preventive examination for oral cancer if they find certain infections. . The exam is visual, quick and painless. When cancer is diagnosed as soon as it appears, it can be more easily treated.
MS also advises that it is important to take advantage of brushing moments to look for lesions, such as spots, bumps, swelling, plaque, and white or red sores, especially on the tongue, cheek, lips, roof of the mouth, under the the tongue, or in the throat.
The most common oral lesions are wounds caused by removable prostheses (dentures), canker sores, cold sores, and gingivitis. All of these are benign, but in some cases they can be a sign of a more serious problem.