Your teeth, unlike your skin or your bones, cannot heal themselves. When it is damaged, you cannot just sit back and wait. You will need a dentist to apply cavity fillings to save your teeth. If it is beyond repair, your teeth will be removed and replaced with dentures.
Poor oral health leads to cavities that erode the hard surface of the teeth. It is permanent and, if it is not treated, will get larger. It can cause severe toothache and infection that will result in the loss of a tooth.
However, there are other health conditions that affect the teeth. Here are a few to look out for.
Diabetes, both type-1 and type-2, makes a person susceptible to infections. Experts warn that high blood sugar impairs the ability of white blood cells, which fight foreign invaders, to arrive at the site of the infection and kill microorganisms. Diabetes is associated with the buildup of plaque in the blood vessels which results in a low blood flow in certain body parts. This is also why, when a person is diabetic, their wounds do not heal immediately, or they require amputation of lower limbs.
People who have been diagnosed with type-1 and type-2 diabetes are more at risk of developing tooth decay. The illness suppresses the immune system and allows pathogens to survive in the body.
Diabetics also have a higher level of glucose in their saliva. When bacteria are present in the mouth, they release an acid that damages the surface of the teeth. The saliva is responsible for balancing the amount of acid in the mouth. However, when the level of glucose overcomes the saliva, it becomes incapable of controlling the amount of acid in the mouth which leads to tooth decay.
It is more important for diabetics to follow a strict oral hygiene routine every day to prevent cavities, tooth decay, and other complications.
Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD)
If you vomit a lot, your teeth are at risk of damage. Your stomach is full of acid to digest the food you eat. It is quite strong. If it travels from your stomach, through your esophagus, and into your mouth, it can be destructive.
GERD or gastroesophageal reflux disease affects the upper portion of the digestive tract. When a person consumes food that is high in acid, the contents of their stomach may flow back up. They have to vomit to get rid of it.
However, as mentioned, acid is present in the stomach. So, when you vomit, your stomach acid also travels to your mouth. If it happens often, it will damage the enamel. The Canadian Society of Internal Research says that dental erosion is a symptom of GERD.
GERD requires treatment. Your doctor may advise that you take antacids and other medications to neutralize or reduce the production of stomach acid.
Conditions that affect the mind have an impact on oral health, too. Eating disorders, particularly anorexia and bulimia, can damage the teeth. Both conditions involve vomiting which, as stated above, brings stomach acid into the mouth, disrupting the regular pH and overpowering the saliva. The result is permanent damage to the teeth.
Moreover, if the person is not getting the nutrients that they need, the soft tissue found in their mouth may bleed easily. This creates an opening for bacteria to enter the tooth and cause an infection.
When a woman is pregnant, changes happen within her body. Pregnancy leads to hormone imbalance which unfortunately makes her at a higher risk of oral problems, including gingivitis (infection of the gums) and periodontal disease (infection of the structure supporting the tooth).
There is also a condition that only most often happens when a woman is expecting called a pyogenic granuloma, better known as pregnancy epulis. This condition causes the growth of small, round/globular, and red growths in the mouth. It can start as a lesion that lasts for a few weeks before it stabilizes and develops into a raised nodule.
The condition is noncancerous, but it can cause bleeding. If not removed immediately, it can also spread.
Oral problems are especially dangerous among pregnant women because it can affect the child. There is evidence that links oral conditions to preterm birth and low birth weight among infants.
When it comes to the teeth, prevention is tons better than the cure. The teeth cannot heal on their own through time. It will hurt until the tooth affected falls out (or pulled forcefully). When the tooth falls out, as an adult, it would not grow back again. Teeth should, therefore, be given extra care because, when they are gone, they are gone for good.