My favorite saying is, “the mouth is the gateway to your body”. Many do not realize that ones oral health can give clues about their general systemic health. In fact, problems in your mouth can affect the rest of your body.
Caries is the most common treatable disease affecting both children and adults. It is also transferable. The bacteria that causes tooth decay can be transferred from one individual to another by sharing food and eating utensils.
It is the most common and costly health problem affecting all age groups. It’s the principle cause of tooth loss from early childhood to middle age. In older adults, root caries become problematic as a result of receding gums.
Though there is a overall decrease in dental decay for American school children for the past two decades, it continues to be a significant health problem in certain segments of our population.
Families living below the poverty level experience more dental decay, more days missed from school and or work. In fact, it’s been estimated that tooth decay is responsible for roughly 51 million hours of lost school time in children across the US. Adults, unfortunately, fare a lot worse. It’s estimated that there is a staggering 164 million hours of lost wages and productivity due to dental ailments.
There are many factors that increase the risk for getting decay including but not limited to: inadequate exposure to fluoride, unhealthy eating habits, poor nutrition, irregular dental visits, poor oral hygiene, reduced salivary flow due to medication and general lack of access to dental care.
A compromised dentition can have very detrimental affects. It interferes with the general well being of a person by limiting ones ability to eat certain foods, impact ones emotions and social well being by lowering ones self esteem and employability .
Periodontal disease has been linked to heart disease, lung disease, stroke and diabetes. Ironically 52% of new recruits in the armed forces are prevented or delayed from deployment due to urgent dental issues.
It can’t be stressed enough that this is a preventible disease. It takes consistent daily efforts to achieve good oral hygiene. It all starts with a good tooth brush .