How to Avoid Oral Diseases

How to Avoid Oral Diseases

What Can Adults Do to Maintain Good Oral Health?

It seems obvious that oral health includes the well-being of our teeth and gums, but did you know that oral health is also a representation of our overall health? The ADA says, “Oral health touches every aspect of our lives but is often taken for granted. Your mouth is a window into the health of your body. It can show signs of nutritional deficiencies or general infection.”

Oral diseases are among the most widespread diseases globally. The World Health Organization says it is estimated that oral diseases affect nearly 3.5 billion people worldwide. But what is oral disease and what can we do to maintain good oral health?

Types of Oral Disease

Oral disease is a term used to describe dental conditions. Some of these health threats are largely preventable and can be treated with early intervention. Three of the most common oral diseases are:


Often called dental caries, a cavity is damage to the tooth caused by tooth decay. But you may be wondering, how does a tooth decay? Bacteria in the mouth use sugar and starch from food to create acid. This acid then works to dissolve areas of your teeth causing holes in the outer surface or enamel. These holes are considered cavities, causing pain and sensitivity.

According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information, “Although largely preventable, dental caries and periodontal disease are the two biggest threats to oral health and are among the most common chronic diseases in the United States. Dental caries is the most common chronic disease in children: it is about five times as common as asthma and seven times as common as hay fever.”

Gum Disease

Gum disease, or periodontitis, is an infection of the gums that damages the soft tissue supporting the teeth. This infection can lead to gums pulling away from the teeth. Gum disease also includes bone loss, causing the teeth to loosen or fall out. The good news is that periodontal disease is largely preventable with good oral hygiene – brushing twice a day and flossing daily. Plus, visiting your dentist at least once a year for a cleaning and examination.

Oral Cancers

According to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, “Oral cancer includes cancers of the mouth and the back of the throat. Oral cancers develop on the tongue, the tissue lining the mouth and gums, under the tongue, at the base of the tongue, and the area of the throat at the back of the mouth.” Risk factors include using tobacco, excessive consumption of alcohol, family history of cancer, excessive sun exposure and/or the human papillomavirus (HPV).

The World Health Organization states that the global incidence of cancers of the lip and oral cavity is estimated at 4 cases per 100 000 people. It’s often the case that your dentist is the first person to recognize this type of cancer. Therefore, visiting your dentist regularly is critical to your oral health.

How is Oral Disease Linked to Overall Health?

Your oral health can be an accurate predictor of overall health. Research shows that gum disease, for example, is linked to a number of more serious conditions like heart disease, diabetes, respiratory disease, osteoporosis, and rheumatoid arthritis.

The importance of brushing and flossing is not only to keep your teeth bright and your breath fresh, but also to prevent more serious illnesses, like the ones listed above. Getting rid of food particles on your teeth can prevent the bad bacteria from entering your bloodstream and traveling to more critical areas of your body. Proper oral care can keep bacteria under control.

What Can You Do to Maintain Good Oral Health?

It cannot be said enough: Practicing good oral hygiene reduces the risk of oral disease. Here are some important tips for protecting your oral health and overall well-being: