Many people assume that when dental health is good, it automatically follows that oral health must be good too.
But nothing could be further from the truth.
This fallacy is one of the reasons why the lengthy training undertaken by dentists advocates a holistic approach to health which looks after both dental and oral health.
So what’s the difference?
Dental health generally refers to the teeth, including issues such as dental erosion, tooth decay and root canal problems. Oral health, however, refers to the overall health of the oral cavity – also known in plain English as the mouth. So, it’s possible to suffer from oral health problems even when your teeth are in tip-top condition.
Oral health and related diseases
By far the most common oral health issues we see here at Aqua Dental Clinic in Hatch End are the evil twins, canker sores and halitosis – more commonly known as ulcers and bad breath.
Known in the dental profession as aphthous ulcers, canker sores are one of the most common oral conditions. These small, persistent sores are thought to affect around a quarter of the population, with a recurrence rate of around 50%. While they can be painful, ulcers usually heal without intervention, although using probiotic toothpaste and staying on top of vitamins B and C and help.
Halitosis is caused by bacteria in the mouth or nose. Common causes in the mouth include food stuck between the teeth, as well as dry mouth or infections.
The nose is a less common cause and can trigger halitosis in several ways. Nasal dysfunction, including a genetic abnormality in the nasal passage, may inhibit proper mucous flow. The bacteria found in sinusitis, post-nasal drip and allergies may pass from the nose to the back of the tongue where, if neglected, it can lie dormant due to improper saliva flow or poor dental hygiene.
The links between dental health and overall oral hygiene are clear – and it’s only when both are treated holistically by a dental professional with a comprehensive understanding of both, can patients really smile in confidence.