Good oral health helps you enjoy life. It lets you speak clearly; taste, chew and swallow delicious and nutritious foods; and show your feelings through facial expressions such as smiling.
In India, about 85% to 90% of adults have dental cavities, along with about 60 to 80% of children. Over 50% of Indians with dental health issues receive treatment or advice from someone other than a dentist, such as chemists.
Your oral health is more important than you might realize. Did you know that oral health offers clues about your overall health – or the problems in your mouth can affect the rest of your body?
Learn about the connection between your oral health and overall health.
Connection between oral health and overall health:
Like other parts of your body, your mouth teems with bacteria –mostly harmless. But your mouth is the entry point to your digestive and respiratory tracts, and some of these bacteria can cause disease.
Normally the body’s natural defenses and good oral care keep bacteria under control. However without proper oral hygiene, bacteria can reach levels that might lead to oral infections such as tooth decay and gum disease.
Studies suggest that oral bacteria and inflammation associated with a severe form of gum disease might play a role in some diseases.
Conditions linked to oral health:
Bad oral health contributes to various diseases and conditions including:
- Endocarditis: The infection of the inner lining of the heart chambers or valves.
- Cardiovascular disease
- Pregnancy and birth complications
Certain conditions like diabetes, HIV/AIDS, osteoporosis and Alzheimer’s disease, eating disorders, rheumatoid arthritis, certain cancers and Sjogren’s syndrome (an immune system disorder that causes dry mouth) are linked to oral health.
Ways to protect oral health:
The best way to protect your oral health is to practice oral hygiene daily.
- Brush your teeth twice daily with a fluoride toothpaste and floss daily.
- Replace your toothbrush regularly.
- Visit your dentist at least once a year
- If you have diabetes, work to maintain control of the disease. This will prevent risk of complication like gum disease.
- Eat a healthy diet and limit sugary food and drinks.
- Avoid tobacco use.
Visit your dentist as soon as an oral health problem arises. Taking care of your oral health is an investment in your overall health.
(Source: mayoclinic.org, nidcr.nih.gov, cdc.gov, borgenproject.org)
As part of our work on livelihoods, health and wellbeing, we have been working with persons with disabilities to adopt organic horticulture practices. We are working with Dr. Bharati Chimmad from University of Agricultural Sciences Dharwad (UASD) who has produced a nutrition card game. The pack has 73 health and nutrition cards. Each card contains a food produce and its nutritional value. This card game not only is a fun game for kids and adults alike, but also helps in understanding the nutritional value of the food we consume on a daily basis.
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