Oral health refers to the health of the teeth, gums, and the overall oral-facial system that enables us to smile, talk, and chew. Cavities (tooth decay), gum disease (periodontitis), and oral cancer are some of the most prevalent illnesses that affect our oral health.

In the last year, more than 40% of individuals reported experiencing oral discomfort, and by the time they are 34, more than 80% of people will have had at least one cavity. Every year, dental crises needing unscheduled treatment cost more than $45 billion in missed productivity and over 34 million school hours on average.

Although oral disorders are typically separated from other chronic illnesses, they are in fact connected. Other chronic conditions like diabetes and heart disease are linked to poor dental health. Risky habits including smoking and eating sugary meals and drinks are also linked to oral illness.

Public health measures that have been shown to reduce cavities and save money include school sealant programmes and community water fluoridation.

Cavities (Tooth Decay) 

Cavities, which are also known as tooth decay, are caused by acids produced by bacteria located in plaque that collects on teeth, particularly at the gumline and on the chewing surfaces of the teeth. Eating and drinking foods high in carbohydrates can lead to the bacteria producing the acids that erode the tooth enamel, leading to demineralization. Cavities are preventable, but unfortunately, they are still one of the most common chronic diseases throughout the lifespan. See our dentist at Gosford, call us any time. 

If left untreated, tooth decay can cause abscesses, which are severe infections under the gums, and can potentially lead to more serious health consequences. Statistics show that more than half of children aged 6 to 8 have had a cavity in at least one of their baby teeth, up to 10% of children aged 2 to 5 have untreated cavities, more than half of adolescents aged 12 to 19 have had a cavity in at least one of their permanent teeth, one quarter of adults aged 20 to 64 have untreated cavities, and more than 90% of adults have had a cavity at some point.

Fortunately, there are strategies to prevent cavities, such as community water fluoridation and school dental sealants programs, which are both cost-saving and proven methods.

Periodontal Disease of the Gums

In 2009 to 2014, around 4 in 10 persons aged 30 or older had gum (periodontitis) illnesses.

5 Gum and bone infections and inflammation, which surround and support the teeth, are the major causes of gum disease. Diabetes, a compromised immune system, poor dental hygiene, and inheritance are a few chronic illnesses that raise a person’s risk for periodontal disease. Gum disease has tobacco usage as a major risk factor. If early types of periodontal illnesses are not treated, the bone that supports the teeth may be lost, and the gums can become inflamed. Little bone support means that teeth may ultimately become loose and need extraction.

Oral melanoma

More than 10,000 people died from oral and pharyngeal cancer in the Australia in 2016, and there were close to 45,000 new cases that were identified. These malignancies have a 61 percent 5-year survival rate. Oral cancer death rates are approximately twice as high in white and black communities as they are in Hispanic groups, and nearly three times higher in men than females (4 vs. 1.4 per 100,000 persons) (2.6 vs. 1.5 for every 100,000 people). 6 Oral cancer may be prevented in large part by avoiding high-risk habits including smoking cigarettes, cigars, or pipes, using smokeless tobacco, and binge drinking excessive amounts of alcohol. The key to improving these malignancies’ survival rates is early identification.

The most prevalent sexually transmitted infection, the oral human papilloma virus (HPV), may cause “oropharyngeal malignancies,” which are tumours of the back of the throat. If HPV causes oropharyngeal cancers on its own, or if other variables (such smoking or chewing tobacco) combine with HPV to produce these cancers, further investigation is required.