World Oral Health Day: Maintain oral hygiene for healthy lifestyle, advise doctors


Jahangeer Ganaie

Srinagar, Mar 20 : In light of World Oral Health Day, doctors in Kashmir have urged the people to prioritise oral hygiene for a healthy lifestyle, saying poor oral health can lead to conditions like Periodontitis.

Speaking with the news agency—Kashmir News Observer (KNO), doctors highlighted the often-overlooked aspect of oral and dental health in Jammu & Kashmir, saying many people only seek dental check-ups when faced with complex issues.

“It is essential for people to undergo regular oro-dental check-ups every six months. Unfortunately, patients often delay seeking dental care until they experience severe toothache and facial swelling,” remarked Dr Manzoor, a dentist from south Kashmir.

He said an unhealthy mouth not only impacts general health but also has a severe impact on people’s emotional, social, mental and overall physical well-being.

He explained, “Like other parts of the body, the mouth harbours germs, which, if left unchecked, can lead to infections such as tooth decay and gum disease. The mouth is the entry to the organs that allow breathing, called the respiratory tract. So, sometimes germs in the mouth can lead to disease throughout the body. That is why there is a need to maintain oral hygiene. Proper oral care, including daily brushing and flossing, is crucial to maintaining oral hygiene and preventing these conditions.”

Good oral care, the doctor said, includes daily brushing and flossing. Without good oral hygiene, germs can reach levels that might lead to infections, such as tooth decay and gum disease, he said.

Dr Manzoor said certain medicines can lower the flow of spit called saliva. “Those medicines include decongestants, antihistamines, painkillers, water pills and antidepressants. Poor oral hygiene can contribute to various health issues, including endocarditis, cardiovascular disease, pregnancy complications, pneumonia, and more,” he said, adding that certain health conditions also might affect oral health, including diabetes, HIV/AIDS, cancer and Alzheimer’s disease.

Similarly, Dr Shahnawaz said that pathogenic bacteria responsible for dental infections can spread via the bloodstream, potentially causing infections in vital organs. He said Periodontitis, a disease affecting the supporting tissues of teeth, can lead to chronic inflammation and pose risks for heart problems, diabetes complications, COVID-19 complications, and other health issues.

“Harmful bacteria and their byproducts can travel through the bloodstream, causing direct damage to different organs or triggering inflammation throughout the body,” he said.

He explained that the primary cause of gum disease is bacterial infection, which, if not addressed, can progress to Periodontitis, leading to the deterioration of the tooth’s supporting structures.

Dr Shahnawaz stressed the importance of addressing gum disease promptly to mitigate its potential adverse effects on both oral and overall health. He called for regular dental check-ups and proactive oral hygiene practices.

The doctors cautioned against self-medicating for tooth infections. They also said tobacco and smoking have detrimental effects on oral health and urged people to prioritize oral hygiene for a healthy lifestyle.

To maintain oral health, doctors recommend brushing teeth at least twice a day for two minutes each time, cleaning between teeth, consuming a healthy diet low in sugary foods and drinks, replacing toothbrushes every three months, and scheduling dental check-ups at least once a year—(KNO)


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