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Oral Health Tips

April 12, 2015 - Advice, Dental Tips

Lifestyle

Oral health is one factor that contributes to a healthy lifestyle. Here are some tips to help you look after your oral health:

  • Schedule regular visits to your dentist
  • Brush at least twice a day and floss at least once a day
  • Eat a well-balanced diet
  • Check your mouth regularly to become familiar with what is normal for you. This will help you recognize when something in your mouth looks or feels different or abnormal
  • Avoid activities that might harm your mouth or teeth such as smoking, oral piercings and recreational drugs
  • Alert your dentist to any herbal remedies, over-the-counter or prescription drugs you are taking
  • Wear a mouthguard to protect your teeth when you are playing sports. Read more about mouthguards.

What should my mouth look like on the inside?

Between dental visits check your mouth for warning signs of gum disease and oral cancer.

Warning signs of gum disease may include:

  • puffy, red, sore, shiny or sensitive gums
  • bleeding when you brush or floss
  • bad breath that won’t go away
  • Warning signs of oral cancer may include:
  • numbness and tingling
  • open sores that don’t go away within a week to 10 days
  • unexplained bleeding
  • lumps or thickening on the bottom or sides of your tongue, cheeks, or roof of your mouth.
  • If you notice any of these signs, or have any concerns, call your dentist immediately.

Smoking

It’s important to know that all types of tobacco including cigarettes, cigars and chewing tobacco are harmful for your oral health. In addition to containing nicotine — which is addictive — they have been all been known to cause:

  • gum disease
  • tooth loss
  • oral cancer
  • lip, tongue, pancreatic cancer and
  • esophagus, colon, bladder, voice box cancer

Almost 75% of gum disease in adults is caused by smoking. Also, your gums may recede as a result of smoking. This may lead to tooth decay and an increased sensitivity to hot and cold food and drinks.

Oral Piercings

If you are considering an oral piercing, it’s important to know the potential side-effects. Here are some of the complications that may occur:

  • Your mouth contains a lot of bacteria. Oral piercing may lead to infection
  • Your piercing may result in pain, swelling or gum tissue damage
  • Your piercing may cause chipped or cracked teeth
  • A pierced blood vessel may cause uncontrollable bleeding
  • In some cases, your swollen tongue can actually block your airway and inhibit your breathing.

Recreational Drugs

Did you know that there are consequences for your oral health when you decide to use recreational drugs? It’s true! Here are some examples:

  • Tooth loss: Using tobacco, ecstasy, amphetamines and methamphetamines, can lead to the constriction of the capillaries in your gums. This affects the attachment of the bone to the tissue of your teeth and may lead to tooth loss.
  • Dry mouth: Marijuana, ecstasy, amphetamines, methamphetamines, heroin and replacement therapies may decrease the saliva production that occurs in your mouth. This will in turn, increase your risk for gum disease and tooth decay
  • Erosion and tooth decay: Ecstasy raises your body temperature and you will want to consume sugary liquids. Marijuana and heroin also cause sugar cravings. Frequent consumption of sugary drinks and sweets will weaken your tooth enamel. Vomiting after alcohol consumption may also erode your teeth.