Oral health—a fundamental part of a healthy lifestyle
Keeping the mouth clean and fresh is not just about good looks. The quality of oral hygiene affects oral health, as well as the ability to eat and chew, and to confidently smile and interact with people.
Gingivitis (gum inflammation), caused by poor oral hygiene, is one of the most common diseases in the world. Gingivitis is reversible and with efficient oral hygiene, the inflammation will heal and the gingiva will return to its healthy status. If inflammation is not taken care of, gingivitis may progress into periodontitis, a condition affecting the supporting bone around the teeth. The development of gum disease can go unnoticed for years.
However, this problem doesn’t concern just the mouth. Today there is convincing scientific support that periodontitis is linked to other diseases that affect the whole body, such as cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes. Therefore, taking care of oral health is actually an investment in overall well-being.
Oral hygiene is as much a part of a healthy lifestyle as are eating a balanced diet, undertaking daily exercise, limiting alcohol consumption, cutting out tobacco and reducing stress levels. Making healthy lifestyle changes will have a positive impact on overall health.
Healthcare professionals have a common responsibility to promote a healthy lifestyle, including stressing the role of good oral hygiene routines.
Good oral hygiene includes toothbrushing twice daily using a fluoride toothpaste. Toothbrushing alone is not enough since it only reaches three out of the tooth´s five sides. An interdental cleaning device is needed to clean the surfaces between the teeth. Several interdental cleaning options are available and for the majority of the adult population, an interdental brush is the most efficient choice. Individualised recommendations can be provided by oral healthcare professionals and regular dental check-ups are recommended to prevent oral diseases and detect early signs of gingivitis.
A commonsense approach and a holistic view of a healthy lifestyle will contribute to the health and well-being of the Australian population.
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Anna Nilvéus Olofsson
Manager Odontology & Scientific Affairs, TePe