The link between oral health and physical health is real. Tooth decay, gum disease and infections from decay and plaque left untreated will lead to gum disease, root canal procedures and extractions. Should an infection enter the bloodstream, the chronic, physical conditions can be heart disease, cancer and diabetes.
Regular dental check-ups and consistent oral hygiene will eliminate the conditions for bacteria to collect and colonize. During an examination, the dentist will visually and physically inspect the oral cavity and the oropharyngeal areas. These areas are beyond the oral cavity and include the soft palate, the tonsils and the walls of the throat.
The dentist is checking for, and monitoring the progress of, any abnormalities found during a prior exam on the teeth, gums, cheeks, throat and along the jaw line.
Today, most dentists include a screening for oral cancers as part of their routine examination.
Below is a list of common diseases and conditions treated by dentists resulting from ineffective oral hygiene.
What can go wrong if regular, consistent oral hygiene is not practiced? Read the above list again.
Generally, if a patient continues a schedule of regular check-ups, cleanings, fluoride treatments and fillings will take care of most conditions. For patients practicing intermittent oral hygiene and only see their dentist if there is a problem, then the treatments are more aggressive and invasive. These treatments can include scraping and scaling of the teeth, antibiotic prescriptions, and restorative procedures to remove plaque from teeth and gums.
Today, many dentists include prescribing probiotics to increase the digestive enzymes in the saliva to progress the break down and lessen the food particles lodged between teeth. A change in the patient’s lifestyle and diet may also be prescribed.
The most invasive of all procedures is surgery. Surgical procedures are extractions, root canals, implants and what is commonly known as “flap surgery” to oral healthcare professionals. Flap surgery is the cutting of the gums to expose the roots of teeth for the scraping and scaling of plaque below the gum line.
Over time, infections will lead to loss of bone and soft tissue, and the treatment for this loss is grafting. The materials can be either synthetic or natural. Natural bone and tissue may either be harvested from the patient or donated from another.
In addition to effective oral hygiene, a change in lifestyle is an important part of oral health. A change in lifestyle means diet. Foods high in sugar are obvious, but there are hidden-sugar foods such as condiments (ketchup and BBQ sauce), flavored yogurt, pasta sauces, sports drinks, fruit juices and granola bars.
The first part of this blog series spoke to the symptoms and the causes of oral conditions. If a patient is aware of the symptoms and causes and practices effective oral hygiene, then the contents of this second blog post is moot.
Dr. Sanaz Abadi and the staff at Lake Forest Dental Choice, located in Lake Forest, California, want to keep their patients aware and informed. The oral care specialists in Lake Forest, CA at Lake Forest Dental Choice are trusted and highly recommended for general, cosmetic and oral care in 92630.