Oral health is important at any age

On 20th March, we celebrate World Oral Health Day. Themed “A happy mouth is a happy body’” for 2024, but why is oral health such a big deal?

Quality of life 

Whether due to physical or mental health side effects, poor oral health can have a massive impact on a person’s overall quality of life.i You need healthy teeth and gums to be able to speak correctly and chew food properly. Without this, your everyday life can be severely affected.  

In particular, problems with speaking or eating can lead to social isolation. They can also substantially reduce confidence and self-esteem,ii which further lowers quality of life. 

Oral and general health 

There is a huge amount of research that shows oral and general (systemic) health are linked. Gum disease increases a person’s risk of developing everything from heart disease,iii musculoskeletal conditionsiv and adverse pregnancy outcomes such as low birth weight.v With regards to diabetes, it works both ways. Poor oral health can worsen diabetic symptoms, and poorly controlled diabetes can increase the risk of gum disease.vi 

There are also firm links between oral and mental health. Various psychological conditions can lead to poorer oral health, including anxiety, depression, eating disorders, schizophrenia and psychosis.vii 

Long-term cost savings 

In addition to improving your general health and quality of life, good oral hygiene will also save you money in the long-run. By looking after your teeth and gums, and lowering your risk of developing oral health problems, you are less likely to need expensive dental treatment. At the very least, you can prolong the need for any procedures, meaning less repair and maintenance in your later years. 

Oral hygiene at all ages 

For all the above reasons, your age is irrelevant when it comes to the importance of oral health. However, it is crucial to establish good habits when children are very young. These will ensure they grow up prioritising their oral and general health. It is also crucial for older generations. As we get older, we can become more susceptible to dental diseases – especially when taking medication for general health conditions that cause oral health side effects.  

Top tips for good oral hygiene: 

  • Brush twice a day  

  • Clean between the teeth every day 

  • See your dentist and/or dental hygienist regularly  

  • Drink plenty of water – avoid sugary/acidic drinks (like fizzy drinks) 

  • Keep a balanced diet 

If you have any concerns about your oral health, or any questions about how to look after your children’s mouths, your local Rodericks Dental Partners practice can help. Our professional teams have years of experience in supporting patients with different needs. They care about you and are here to help. To find out local practice, enter your postcode at https://rodericksdentalpartners.co.uk/our-practices/search. 


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