Oral cavity or mouth is the gateway to body and forms an important part of physical appearance. A good smile often forms a lasting impression, shortens the distance between two people. In spite of being so important, the health of oral cavity is neglected due to many reasons, mainly because of lack of awareness. Though this article I would like to emphasize the importance of oral hygiene and various methods to maintain a good oral health.
Dental plaque, commonly known as tartar, is a biofilm made of microorganisms embedded within a sticky matrix. It tends to accumulate around tooth surface and beneath gums till it is mechanically removed through oral hygiene aids. Two most common dental diseases, tooth decay (caries) and gum disease (pyorrhoea/periodontitis) are directly caused by plaque accumulation. Prevention of these diseases is based on controlling plaque formation around teeth.
Oral bacteria that normally reside in our mouths are symbiotic that is they don’t cause disease. When oral hygiene is neglected and plaque keeps on accumulating, the pathogenic or disease-causing bacteria take their place and release substances that are detrimental to teeth and gums.
Importance of oral hygiene:
1. Prevents buildup of tartar (dental plaque) which causes oral diseases such as caries and pyorrhea
2. Buildup of dental plaque can lead to worsening of systemic disease such as sugar control in diabetics
3. May cause complications in pregnancy
4. May cause infective endocarditis (infection of the inner lining of heart) in susceptible individuals
5. Prevents tooth loss and maintains quality of life.
6. A healthy smile helps boost confidence and ability to interact
For Effective control of plaque and prevention of oral diseases following strategies can be adopted:
1. Mechanically remove all plaque with use of oral hygiene Aids
2. Use of medicinal mouthwashes to control disease causing bacteria
3. Alteration of oral environment to prevent bacterial overgrowth of disease-causing bacteria