IS THERE A CONNECTION BETWEEN ORAL AND MENTAL HEALTH

Mental health is linked to oral health, and vice versa. Good oral health can enhance mental and overall health, while poor oral health can exacerbate mental issues. Likewise, mental conditions can cause oral health issues. The connection between them is direct, cyclical and, when oral health is neglected, detrimental.

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DIABETES AND YOUR TEETH

Diabetes may cause serious problems with keeping your mouth healthy and having an attractive smile. The disease causes difficulties in the mouth, and problems in the mouth may cause trouble with diabetes. With diabetes, glucose is present in the saliva. When diabetes is not controlled, increased glucose in the saliva allows harmful bacteria to grow.   Periodontal disease, also known as gum disease, is the most widespread chronic inflammatory condition worldwide, says Dr. Wayne Aldredge.

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SMART APPS FOR DENTAL HEALTH CARE

Oral health is often taken for granted. The mouth is a window into the health of the entire body. It can show signs of nutritional deficiencies or general infection. Systemic diseases – those that affect the entire body – may first become apparent because of mouth lesions or other oral problems.   Regardless of age, oral health is very important. Positive oral health leads to improved overall health. More Americans today are keeping their natural teeth throughout their lives.

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After the child is 3 years old, you can increase the amount to pea-sized. While your child may want to take brushing into his own hands, the parent should do the brushing or assist the child until he is 7 or 8 years old. As soon as the surfaces of the teeth touch one another, the American Academy of Pediatrics suggests beginning flossing, assisting until the child is 10 years old.


Caring for your teeth should be part of your daily routine. The Oral Health Foundation recommends brushing twice a day; cleaning in between your teeth at least once a day using interdental brushes or floss; and changing your toothbrush every two to three months. A toothpaste with fluoride will strengthen tooth enamel, which in turn helps fight decay.


The American Dental Association says regular dental visits are important because they can help spot dental health problems early, when treatment is likely to be simpler and more affordable and larger problems can be prevented. Some medical conditions or diseases have symptoms that can appear in the mouth, so a dental visit can impact your overall health.

The Louisville Courier-Journal reported some statistics that were far from praiseworthy regarding Kentucky’s status when it comes to dental health. The newspaper said dental and oral health problems, such as cancer or other diseases of the mouth and gums, remain a significant challenge in Kentucky. It also found Kentuckians have a high rate of adults over 65 who have had all their natural teeth extracted, with about 25 percent of adults having no teeth, making Kentucky the fifth worst in the nation. The Courier-Journal also reported 22 percent of women in the state smoke during pregnancy, heightening their risk for oral health problems. And because of elevated tobacco use, Kentucky has some of the nation’s highest rates of oral cancer. While there is a lengthy list of benefits of quitting smoking, do not forget smoking can lead to gum disease, tooth loss or staining and even mouth cancer.


The Colgate Oral Care Center says it’s important to visit a dentist every six months for a regular checkup and professional cleaning. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommend children be seen by a dentist within six months of the eruption of the first tooth or 12 months of age, whichever comes first. Good oral hygiene should be a priority from birth. The AAP says before teeth erupt, a baby’s gums and tongue should be washed with a wet cloth after feedings. Brushing should start with a soft-bristled, small-head brush with fluoride toothpaste in an amount no larger than a grain of rice.

AN OVERVIEW OF TRENDS AND TOPICS IN DENTISTRY

JAMIE LOBER

Jamie Lober is a Staff Writer for Health & Wellness Magazine

more articles by Jamie Lober

The Oral Health Foundation says dental anxiety is one of the most common phobias in the world, with nearly a third of all adults dreading the dentist and one in 10 having a phobia so strong they actually avoid making visits to the dentist. If you are afraid of the dentist, let him or her know about your anxieties and fears so he or she can tailor your treatment accordingly. You may able to listen to music to help you relax or try sedation dentistry.