The good news is that most Americans have a strong desire to see their dentist as regularly as possible. The bad news is that they don’t. A survey in 2017, indicated that some 42% of Americans don’t see their dentist for the regular consult. They are more diligent in seeing their primary doctors, dermatologists, and ophthalmologists, as only 29%, 23%, and 17% respectively don’t see these practitioners regularly. Ironically, a vast majority of the American population—about 85%—consider oral health a vital aspect of their general health.
In another study from 2013 to 2016, nearly 17% of 15 to 19-year-old kids were found to have “untreated dental caries,” otherwise known as tooth decay. The percentage of adults ages 20 to 44 with the same problem is close to 32%. Combined, that’s a 49% probability of halitosis or other oral diseases among those age groups!
The next time you take your children to their orthodontist in Oviedo, make sure that it’s not only for aligning their braces but also for checking the overall health of their mouths.
Global Oral Health in Brief
Including the rest of the world population, the World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that about half of the world population has oral diseases, with tooth decay as the most common condition.
Another common oral disease to watch out for is the periodontal or gum disease. When your gums are frequently swollen, or it bleeds, you might have gingivitis. Although early manifestation is painless, it causes bad breath. When this condition worsens, it will lead to periodontitis or losing your teeth.
In 2000, the U.S. Surgeon General reported that herpes labialis and candidiasis are also common. The report also states that factors affecting oral health aren’t solely dependent on an individual’s behavior. It’s a behavior combined with genetic and environmental factors that affect oral health in America.
If the condition is terrible, surgical treatment might be required. This intervention will include the following:
- flap surgery, which focuses on removing tartar
- a bone graft involves replacing bones destroyed by gum disease
- soft tissue grafts where healthy tissues are grafted onto receding or thinning gums.
With regular healthy oral habits, tooth decay can be prevented. The following practices can go a long way in keeping your mouth healthy.
- Brush your teeth. Do this preferably after every meal or at least twice a day and using toothpaste with fluoride.
- Floss. A toothbrush can’t reach the spaces effectively in between teeth where food debris gets stuck. Use dental floss to clean the in-between of your teeth.
- Avoid sugar. Foods high in sugar and starch content together with your saliva, creates a chemical reaction that produces an acid that damages your tooth enamel, which then leads to tooth decay.
- Use mouthwash. Gargle with mouthwash also with fluoride content. This helps to strengthen the outer layer of your teeth.
The preceding healthy oral habits will also prevent gingivitis as these prevent the onset of plaque, which in turn leads to gum disease. Visiting your dentist regularly for cleaning and thorough plaque removal is also an essential step in preventing gum disease. Lifestyle changes like quitting smoking, reducing stress, and dieting also help prevent gum disease.
Note, however, that even if these habits are followed to the T, some are genetically predisposed to having oral diseases. The estimate is that there are about 30% of these Americans. If you belong to the 70%, then consider yourself lucky and keep practicing these recommendations.