KUALA LUMPUR: If you think that brushing your teeth is good enough for dental health, you are wrong.
Brushing alone cannot stop bacteria in the mouth from entering the blood stream, which can result in chronic diseases.
According to research conducted by doctors and scientists, diabetes, cardiovascular disease and low birth weight babies are caused by poor oral health.
Studies by the Malaysian Health Ministry found that over half of Malaysians feel they have good oral health though records indicate more than seven million Malaysians are living without permenant teeth.
The reality is that 98 percent of Malaysians do not practice good dental care and 94 per cent of them face gum related problems.
Not many are aware that gum problems can affect their general health, said Dr Harlina Haron, a dentist with 25 years of experience.
Gum problems are just the start of various complications, especially the risk of diabetes.
A build up of bacteria in the mouth can also cause stomach ulcers and is also linked to inflammation of the liver.
Other effects to the body include increased risk for pneumonia and the birth of premature babies or low birth weight babies.
When teeth are not cleaned properly, bacteria infests the mouth and plaque forms on teeth within 20 minutes of eating food.
“The bacteria that enters our body contains frozen protein which apparently clogs blood vessels and arteries, increasing the risk of stroke and heart disease.
“This is why reducing sweet food and snacks in our diet is also necessary,” she said when briefing on proper dental care in conjunction with World Oral Health Day celebrated every March 20.
This year’s theme ‘Everything Starts Here. Healthy Mouth, Healthy Body’ was attended by over a million dentists worldwide.
Oral health does not only covers the teeth, the hard palate, throat, tongue, lips, salivary glands, chewing muscles and jaw.
When teeth and gums are healthy, bacteria is reduced and self-confidence is optimised.
Millions of bacteria exist in the mouth and frequent brushing and reduced sugar intake will prevent tooth decay and cavities.
Not brushing properly can lead to more serious problems such as gingivitis, periodontitis and lastly loss of teeth.
When met at her clinic in Bangsar, Dr Harlina shared with Bernama that 90 percent of dental problems were caused by accumulated plaque.
Good oral health requires brushing teeth at least twice daily.
Effective brushing is needed to eradicate plaque accumulation, besides flossing hard to reach areas to avoid gum problems from the onset.
Failing to do this will increase the risk of tooth decay, including early signs such as cavities, discomfort when biting and tooth sensitivity or pain.
“Studies show that those with chronic gum or periodontal problems face 40 percent higher risk than those without such problems.
“The early symptoms of gum problems is bleeding gums. If the condition persists every day, it is best to consult a dentist for further treatment,” she said, adding that teeth carries unique identities for each person.
INCREASING ORAL CARE AWARENESS
In conjunction with World Oral Health Day 2016, Philips collaborated with the World Dental Federation (FDI) to improve awareness on the importance of oral health.
According to Philips Malaysia manager Muhammad Ali Jaleel, brushing and flossing not only brought smiles and fresh breath, but helped improve overall health.
To improve oral healthcare, the line of Oral Sonicare products were designed to assist the public achieve this.
Using electricity, the latest Sonicare FlexCare toothbrush is able to reduce gum problems and remove 90 per cent of plaque.
Using the Sonicare FlexCare toothbrush is the same as brushing 31,000 times a minute compared with regular toothbrush. Two minutes usage is recommended.