Dentistry Services for Family
The mouth, teeth and jaws are the basis for oral health, which enables people to function in everyday life, communicate with others, and enjoy good nutrition. It also enables people to have healthy, fulfilling relationships and achieve financial prosperity. Poor Dental health has serious consequences, which can result in pain, disability, loss of self-esteem and other conditions that can seriously limit a person’s quality of life.
Oral healthcare includes all the activities and treatments that help to keep the mouth, gums, tongue, lips, cheeks, the floor of the mouth, and the hard and soft palate free from disease. These include tooth decay and gum disease, bad breath, swollen gums, or other mouth problems that can lead to permanent damage. It also includes the practice of oral hygiene, which is the regular cleaning of the teeth and gums to remove harmful bacteria that can cause infection.
Oral hygiene is important throughout the life course. It is especially important during pregnancy, when increased hormone levels can affect the amount of saliva produced, and during menopause, when lower amounts of estrogen may increase the risk of oral health issues, including burning mouth syndrome (BMS). The mouth can also be affected by long-term illnesses that reduce the body’s ability to fight infections, such as diabetes, which can lead to mouth sores and gum disease, and HIV/AIDS, which increases the risk of mouth lesions caused by a fungal infection called thrush.
Access to Dental health is an important issue in the US, with a significant number of adults in rural areas not receiving routine dental care. Several factors contribute to this, including limited availability of providers, distance from providers, low incomes, and cultural barriers. Some states have used laws to expand access, and the federal government supports programs to train dental hygienists and primary care physicians.
Many oral diseases are preventable, and it is important to take an active role in your own oral health by practicing good habits, such as brushing on a regular basis and using an antiseptic mouthwash after eating and drinking sugary drinks. It is also important to see a dentist on a regular basis, usually twice per year.
People with lower socioeconomic status bear a greater burden of oral diseases, which are linked to a range of other health issues. This is often because they have less access to affordable dental care and are more likely to smoke or use other risk behaviors. All healthcare providers should ensure that they provide advice on maintaining good oral health, and all social care providers should make sure that their services have an oral care policy and that oral health is included in a service user’s personalised care plan. They should also be aware of the links between poor oral health and aspiration pneumonia. This article has been adapted from the Oral Health Toolkit developed by DHHS' Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health. The Toolkit provides resources, promising practices, and example programs to support rural healthcare providers and communities in promoting oral health.