National Smile Month 2021: Raising Awareness Of Oral Health Issues

National Smile Month 2021 is here and we’re here to help promote the importance of having good oral health and the value of a healthy smile! Between 17th May and 17th June, the Oral Health Foundation is working to raise awareness of important oral health issues and we’re here to help share tips and advice on how to look after your smile and overall oral health. 

Maintaining a healthy smile is relatively simple, but for some people it can be difficult. Despite the huge improvements in oral health over the past 40 years, there are still some barriers to be crossed and oral disease is still far too common. Here are four key National Smile Month messages to keep in mind when it comes to better oral health:

  • Brush your teeth for two minutes a day, in the morning and last thing at night, with a fluoride toothpaste. 
  • Clean in between your teeth at least every other day. 
  • Cut down your intake of sugary foods and drinks.
  • Visit your dentist regularly. 

Maintaining healthy teeth and gums is a lifelong commitment and learning proper dental hygiene habits means that it’s easier to avoid costly dental procedures and long-term health issues in the future. In celebration of National Smile Month 2021, here are some further tips and advice on recognising and preventing oral health issues.

Symptoms Of Dental and Oral Health Issues

You shouldn’t wait until you have symptoms to visit your dentist, as often this means that the symptoms have developed and could require more work. Visiting your dentist twice a year means that your dentist will usually be able to spot any issues or problems before symptoms begin. If you experience any of these signs, then you should make an appointment to see your dentist as soon as possible. 

  • Ulcers, sores or tender areas that won’t heal
  • Bleeding or swollen gums, especially after flossing or brushing 
  • Sudden sensitivity to hot or cold foods and drinks
  • Chronic bad breath or dry mouth 
  • Pain, toothache and loose teeth 
  • Swelling or pain when chewing or biting 

Causes Of Dental and Oral Diseases

Your mouth is home to all sorts of bacteria and, whilst some of them are part of the normal flora of your mouth, there are some which can cause and contribute to dental and oral diseases. As part of National Smile Month 2021, we’re helping to spread awareness of these diseases and how they can affect your health. 

Often, bacteria that lives in your mouth are generally harmless, there are some instances where it can become damaging to your teeth, oral health and overall wellbeing. Bacteria that lives near your gum line can create a sticky substance called plaque, which can then accumulate and harden, causing tartar that can be tricky to remove. Regular brushing and flossing can help to prevent this build up, but if left, it can cause your gums to inflame, leading to potential gingivitis. 

We use our teeth and mouths a lot during the day, so it isn’t surprising that, over time, things can go wrong, especially if you don’t maintain proper oral care. A lot of dental and oral diseases can be prevented with proper hygiene, but you are likely to experience at least one dental problem during your lifetime. 

Cavities

Cavities, also known as tooth decay, are areas of the tooth or teeth which have been permanently damaged and may even develop small holes, which can often be painless meaning that you don’t realise they are there. Cavities are a fairly common dental complaint and occur when food, bacteria and acid coat your teeth and form plaque. The acid sitting on your teeth can start to eat away at the enamel and then the dentin which lies underneath and then, over time, this leads to permanent damage. 

Sensitive Teeth 

Although not a disease, sensitive teeth can have a huge impact on your oral health and can be the result or an indication of further dental issues. If you have sensitive teeth, then you’ll likely feel discomfort or pain whilst having hot or cold foods or drinks. It can sometimes occur after root canal, fillings or having braces removed, but can also be the result of gum disease, receding gums or worn down crowns or fillings. 

Most of the time, sensitive teeth can be treated at home with a change in your daily hygiene routine. There are toothpastes and mouthwashes specially formulated for sensitive teeth. 

Oral Cancers

Oral cancers can include cancer of the gums, tongue, lips, cheeks or palate of the mouth and in most cases, dentists are often the first person to recognise the symptoms of oral cancers. Alcohol and tobacco use are amongst some of the biggest risk factors when it comes to oral cancers. If you notice a lump in your mouth, ulcers or sores that don’t heal or frequent bleeding, then you should get these checked out as soon as possible. The earlier that oral cancer is diagnosed, the better the outcome. 

Our oral health is hugely important and, in recent years, there have been connections made between our oral health and general wellbeing. A healthy mouth can help to maintain a healthy body. Looking after your oral health is vital and this National Smile Month, we’re here to help you with any oral or dental concerns you may have. Contact Dental Solutions today to arrange a checkup, or get in touch with us if you have any questions or concerns about your dental health and we’ll be happy to help!


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