Good oral health is important to good overall health as it allows people to eat, speak and socialise without pain or embarrassment. Maintaining a healthy mouth and teeth is linked to quality of life and is an important part of active aging.
Oral health is important for everyone but can be a particular problem for older people, people with learning disability, adults with severe mental health problems, alcohol and drug misuse problems and homeless people.
Oral health problems include:
Periodontal (Gum) disease
Defective or poorly fitting dentures
Oral (mouth) cancer.
These problems can have a significant impact on a person’s quality of life, for example pain and difficulty eating can lead to poor levels of nutrition. Poor oral appearance and dental disability can lead to social isolation and may affect self-esteem and well-being.
Good oral health is achieved through regular, twice a day, tooth brushing with fluoride toothpaste, a healthy diet and regular visits to an NHS Dental Practice.
It is important to remember that smoking and alcohol consumption above the recommended levels may lead to poor oral health and increase the risk of developing an oral cancer.
Regular visits to dental practices can also play a role in the early detection of oral cancer as symptoms such as red or white patches on the lining of the mouth and tongue, ulcers or lumps can be spotted.