Infections can be dangerous to our health, but when caught they can be treated in a timely manner. One area we often dismiss when considering viruses is our oral health. However, issues of tooth decay and other problems with our teeth can lead to a number of issues, including infection. This is why it's so important to practice good oral hygiene habits with children from an early age.
Importance of oral health
The New York Times reported that when severe tooth decay goes ignored, it can have deadly results.1 In one such instance, a 12-year-old boy died when bacteria due to an abscessed tooth reached his brain. Most of these types of oral health issues can be successfully treated when regular dental appointments are kept and good hygiene habits are kept up. However, this isn't the only type of such an occurrence. In fact, health care professionals have conducted studies on the topic.
Dr. Andrea Shah, a dentist from Boston, worked with a group of researchers to see if periapical abscesses were responsible for hospitalizations from 2000 to 2008. When patients in need of root canals went untreated, 89 percent were hospitalized on an urgent basis. Of the 61,439 cases, 66 died while emitted. While most of the patients had some type of insurance, 18.5 percent did not. Based on the collected findings of this analysis, Shah and colleagues concluded that untreated abscesses were responsible for hospitalization, especially in high-risk individuals.2
Important facts on tooth decay
Regardless of its importance, oral healthcare is often low on the priority list for many. Dental visits can be costly, especially for someone without insurance. However, because our mouths are full of bacteria, it can be a breeding grounds for infections. Those who have poor diets and oral hygiene, smoke and/or suffer from dry mouth are at an increased risk of developing tooth decay.3 What many don't realize is that a few small steps can go a long way toward keeping your pearly whites healthy.
Tips for dental health
In addition to keeping regular dentist appointments and educating yourself on the importance of oral health, there are a few simple tricks you may want to implement. According to CNN Health, it can be as easy as:4
- Using an electric toothbrush, which makes it easier remove all of the plaque from your teeth. Some are even timed, so there's no guessing whether or not you brushed long enough.
- Buying the proper oral care products. Talk to your dentist to find out what your specific needs are and make sure that you are purchasing the appropriate type of toothpaste, floss and mouthwash.
- Wearing a night guard if you grind your teeth or clench your jaw at night. This can be dangerous because it slowly wears down your teeth over time, leaving them more susceptible for tooth decay.
The dentist isn't necessarily a fun place to visit. So, if you or your children are unhappy with yours, make sure to find some place new to go. Talk to your friends and family for referrals. Once you find an office you like, it can take a lot of the difficulty out of scheduling and keeping appointments.
Medex Supply provides an assortment of medical supplies to both medical professionals and individuals. Available equipment includes infection control supplies that can help treat instances of tooth decay that have lead to hospitalization.
1 The New York Times, "Oral infections causing more hospitalizations" August 30, 2013"
2 Journal of Endodontics, "Outcomes of hospitalizations attributed to periapical abscess from 2000 to 2008: a longitudinal trend analysis" July 15, 2013
3 National Health Services, "Causes of tooth decay" July 6, 2012
4 CNN Health, "5 ways to preserve your teeth as you age" December 9, 2013