Get to the root of your oral health problemsNational Pharmacies
It is often said the mouth is a window into what’s going on in the rest of your body. National Dental Week runs from the 1st to the 7th of August with the aim to educate people on the importance of maintaining good oral health. Many systemic conditions, like AIDS or diabetes often become apparent due to mouth lesions or other oral problems. According to the Academy of General Dentistry, more that 90 per cent of all systemic diseases produce oral signs and symptoms.
By having regular oral examinations, early detection of such symptoms may help in a diagnosis.
Good oral health can also protect the body against harmful bacteria and viruses. In fact, saliva is one of the body’s main defences against bacteria and viruses. Saliva contains antibodies that attack viruses like the common cold. It also ensures the naturally occurring fungus that causes oral thrush (Candida Albicans), is kept under control. Your mouth can also be a source of infection. If you don’t brush and floss regularly, plaque can build up along your gums. This creates an environment for additional bacteria to accumulate. This can lead to gum infections, including gingivitis and periodontitis and potentially create entry points for microbes (such as bacteria) to enter directly into the bloodstream. Medications may also affect your oral health. Some medicines like cough drops, liquid medications and vitamins contain high levels of sugar. If used long-term they may cause tooth decay. It is advised to rinse your mouth with water after taking high sugar medications. Inhalers (containing steroids) can cause oral thrush, so always rinse your mouth out after using one. Some medications can also reduce saliva flow. Without the effects of saliva, tooth decay and other oral health problems can become more common. Medications that can reduce saliva include antihistamines, anti-depressants, painkillers and drugs for urinary incontinence. Products like Biotène act as an artificial saliva to soothe and clean and help maintain a healthy mouth. It is important to have regular dental check-ups so any issues can be detected early and to also discuss with your doctor if you have any concerns. If you are concerned your medications may be adversely affecting your oral health, ask your National Pharmacies pharmacist to check for you.
James Puckridge, Pharmacist, Victoria
For more information visit:
www.colgateprofessional.com/patient education/articles/why-a-healthy-mouth is-good-for-your-body
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