Dentist, Dr Marc Sher, says dental and oral discomfort may sometimes signal more serious health issues such as anaemia, diabetes, Crohn’s disease and more!
Conditions You Could Have?
• A red, smooth and sore tongue (glossitis), mild inflammation at the angles of the mouth (stomatitis) and recurrent mouth ulcers may be associated with anaemia (a deficiency of red cells in the blood, often resulting in lethargy).
• Dry mouth and an accelerated periodontal disease (disease of the gums and alveolar bone in the jaws) may indicate uncontrolled diabetes.
• Bad breath, recurring ulcers, red and swollen gums, and a thickening of the oral mucosa (lining) may indicate a gastrointestinal condition such as Crohn’s disease (chronic inflammation of the intestines).
• Recurring mouth ulcers may be a sign of excessive stress.
Sher says it’s vital to visit your dentist at least every six months for professional cleaning and once a year for a comprehensive check-up during which conditions such as those outlined above may be identified and referred to a doctor.
Ways To Keep Your Teeth Healthy?
1. Brush twice a day (night time is most important) for no less than two minutes, preferably with a good quality electric toothbrush.
2. If using a manual toothbrush, hold the brush like you would hold a pen to avoid excessive force on gums.
3. Never use a scrubbing brush stoke on or near the gums. Rather use small circular motions.
4. Use a pea-sized amount of toothpaste which contains fluoride.
5. Avoid rinsing directly after brushing. Spit out excess toothpaste and leave the teeth “coated”. Avoid eating or drinking for at least 30 minutes to allow for optimum absorption of the fluoride into the enamel.
6. Remember to always brush the tongue and palate.
7. Floss at least once a day, preferably before bed.
8. Mouthwash is not as essential as brushing and flossing but helps maintain oral hygiene.
9. Avoid a high sugar diet as bacteria in the mouth feed off these sugars and cause tooth decay.
10. Chewing gum containing xylitol aids in the remineralisation (strengthening) of enamel.
11. When experiencing mouth ulcers, use a natural product such as Bye Mouth Ulcer (available at major pharmacies) that aids in the protection of the ulcer while promoting healing.
For more info visit www.otcpharma.co.za Dr Marc Sher (B.Ch.D), practices at The Dental Practice in Sea Point, Cape Town and can be reached via email email@example.com.