May 21 , 2021
Physical Contributors to Stress: Dental Hygiene
It is important to note that, just like with personal hygiene, proper dental hygiene is important for not only the health of teeth, but also the health of the whole body.
The human mouth contains large populations of bacteria, most of which are either harmless or helpful. However, without proper oral hygiene, bacteria can grow out of control and reach levels that may lead to oral infections such as tooth decay and gum disease. Gums are made up of tissue that is very thin. This makes it so much easier for uncontrolled bacteria or infectious agents so be absorbed through the thin barrier and enter the blood stream. Gum disease is an infection of the tissue that surrounds and supports the teeth and it is the major cause of tooth loss in adults, with periodontitis being one of the most common forms of advanced gum disease. Oral bacteria, combined with the inflammation associated with periodontitis has been shone to possibly play a role in some diseases. Also, certain diseases, such as diabetes, osteoporosis, Alzheimer’s and HIV/AIDS, can lower the body’s resistance to infections, making oral health issues more severe.
Warning signs of gum disease include:
- Gums that bleed easily or are red, swollen or tender.
- Gums that have pulled away from teeth.
- Persistent bad breath or bad taste.
- Permanent teeth that are loose or separating.
Regular dental/oral care is extremely important for keeping the populations of bacteria in the mouth under control and preventing gum disease and tooth decay. Care is generally focused around caring for the gums, where most of the bacteria growth and absorption can happen. Simple guidelines to follow to best take care of your oral health include:
- Brushing twice daily with a fluoride toothpaste and floss daily.
- Replace toothbrush every 3-4 months or sooner if bristles are frayed.
- Schedule regular dental checkups and cleanings.
- Avoid tobacco use of any kind.
- Eat a healthy diet and limit excessive snacking.
Food consumed daily can have a profound effect on the status of dental/oral/gum health. There are many nutrients that are essential for good oral health including water, protein, calcium, iron and vitamins B2, B3, B12, C and D. These nutrients play important roles in different aspects of oral health and tooth strength.
- Calcium is a major mineral found in both the jaw and teeth. A lack of consumption can increase the risk of dental deterioration and gum disease.
- Iron deficiency can cause the tongue to inflame and sores to form in the month.
- Vitamin B2, B3 and B12 are important to prevent bad breath and canker and other sores in the mouth.
- Vitamin C is important for maintaining healthy gums; too little intake can cause bleeding gums and loose teeth.
- Vitamin D is an important nutrient to support bone health through increased calcium consumption and preventing burning mouth syndrome.
There are also certain foods that can increase the risk of tooth or gum decay and disease. These foods include sticky or chewy foods, processed sugary foods, gum/candy, soft drinks and fruit or vegetable juices.
What does this mean?
Stress on the body doesn’t come in only one form or from one source, therefore it is important to be aware of where stresses might be coming from, to better protect against their side effects. Just like in the digestive tract, there is a delicate microbiome balance in the mouth. When this balance is disrupted, it can cause a breakdown of other dependent systems, as well as causing inflammation from having to fight off infections. Inflammation and the introductions of invading pathogens will also be a result of tooth and gum decay. Chronic periodontitis affects 47.2% of adults over the age of 30 in the United States. However, most problems with oral health can be treated and especially prevented with routine dental care, proper nutrition and regular dental checkups and cleanings.
- This is always the first step to understanding what you can do to prevent certain physical contributors to stress, including dental health.
- Be aware of the warning signs of tooth and gum decay; and what steps need to be taken to prevent and treat tooth and gum decay and disease.
- Dental Hygiene Routine:
- .Create and follow a regular dental hygiene routine using the recommendation listed above.
- If you already have a regular dental hygiene routine, re-assess it for any potential gaps and fill them for a more complete preventative routine.
- Dental Check-ups:
- .Regular checkups with your dentist are extremely important to maintain good oral health and preventing disease.
- If you have not seen your dentist in some time, make an appointment for a checkup.
- Continue to follow your dental care professionals recommendations for subsequent checks.