The Importance of Dental Hygiene
Not many people enjoy going to the dentist, and some even avoid it, only making an appointment when they’re in discomfort. October is National Dental Hygiene Month, a time to raise awareness of the importance of good oral health.
Risks of Poor Dental Hygiene
Brushing and flossing your time every day might feel mundane, but taking care of your teeth and gums is essential to reducing your risk of developing oral diseases and cancers.
- Cavities and Tooth Decay- A cavity or tooth decay refers to permanent damage to the tooth. A cavity happens when bacteria, sugar, and other foreign partials attach and eat away at the tooth. In some cases, tooth decay causes no symptoms. However, if left untreated, a cavity can grow, causing toothaches, infection, or tooth loss.
- Halitosis- Halitosis is the medical term for bad breath. You may experience bad breath after eating a smelly meal or right after waking up. Still, if brushing and flossing don’t immediately make your breath smell fresh, your bad breath could be a sign of a more serious oral health condition such as gingivitis or gum disease.
- Gum Disease- Gum disease is a gum infection that affects the soft tissue around your teeth. If left untreated, gum disease can destroy the bones in the mouth that support the teeth and the jaw bone. Symptoms of gum disease include gums that are swollen, red, and tender.
- Oral Cancer- Oral cancer is a mouth cancer that appears as sores around the gums, lips, tongue, and cheeks that won’t go away. Oral cancer tends to develop in people who use tobacco or drink alcohol excessively. Those with human papillomavirus (HPV) also have a higher risk of developing oral cancer.
Tips to Improve Your Dental Hygiene
It’s never too late to improve your dental hygiene! Consider the following for a healthy mouth and smile.
- Brush and floss daily- The best way to keep your mouth clean is to brush your teeth at least twice a day and floss at least once a day. For best results, brush your teeth with fluoride toothpaste, and make sure to brush your gums, tongue, and the roof of your mouth.
- Eat a healthy diet- Try to incorporate lots of fresh produce, whole grains, and lean meats into your diet and reduce the amount of sugar you consume. Not only will a healthy diet improve your overall health, but eliminating sugary food reduces your chances of developing cavities.
- Avoid tobacco- Smoking and chewing tobacco increase your risk of developing various oral conditions such as oral cancer, gum disease, and tooth decay.
- Schedule regular dentist appointments- Brushing and flossing is an excellent way to prevent plaque buildup, but some plagues can be tough to remove. Your dentist can provide deep cleanings, and they can assess your overall oral health and let you know if you’re at risk for any dental-related conditions. Aim to schedule a dentist appointment every six months unless otherwise suggested by your dentist.
How Visiting Angels Can Help
If you or an aging loved one needs help taking care of their dental hygiene, the team at Visiting Angels Augusta, Georgia, can help. Our teams of trained caregivers provide personal grooming assistance and can help seniors brush and floss their teeth. Visiting Angels caregivers can also help with light housekeeping, meal preparations, medication reminders, personal grooming, mobility, and more. Our Augusta office serves those in Augusta, Evans, Martinez, and the surrounding Georgia communities. If you’d like to learn more about our services and how we can assist you and your aging loved one, you can complete this online form or call us at 706.955.4220.