Aspiring dental hygienists know that proper oral care involves brushing at least twice a day for two whole minutes. Thata��s definitely not all there is to oral care, though. Proper oral care also includes getting in between teeth with dental floss, as well as bi-annual dental checkups to make sure that everything is in order. For some clients, it may not seem like a big deal to skip flossing, brushing, or regular appointments, but it is!
Long-term neglect of oral care has consequences. In fact, clients who neglect their oral hygiene could end up with potentially serious health problems. Keep reading to find out what some of the consequences of dental care neglect can be.
Neglect of Daily Oral Care Leads to Plaque Buildup, Which Irritates the Gums
The daily aspects of oral carea��brushing, flossing, and rinsing with mouthwasha��should serve to remove sugars and anything else that has accumulated in the mouth throughout the day. Sugars are the source of food for bacteria that occupy the oral space, and the more they have to eat, the more they multiply.
When bacterial colonies get really large, they form a film known as plaque, which neither teeth nor gums are fans of. Large amounts of bacteria produce a lot of acidic waste, which erodes tooth enamel and leads to cavities. Heightened bacterial presence and activity also leads to inflamed and swollen gums.
Inflammation is the body’s natural response when it’s trying to ward off harmful invaders, but it’s also a sign that something is wrong. Students of dental hygienist school know that inflammation of the gumsa��due to excessive plaque buildup below the gum linea��is called gingivitis, and it’s the first stage of a problem that could become even more serious the longer oral care is neglected.
Graduates of Dental Hygienist School Know Neglecting Plaque Buildup Can Cause Serious Harm
If clients are neglecting their daily oral care, or if they’re practicing it diligently but not using the proper techniques, plaque that doesn’t get removed ends up hardening and turning into tartar. Once this happens, a dental cleaning which accompanies regular checkups is the only way to remove it. This is because special tools are required to scrape it off of teeth.
Professionals who have completed a dental hygiene diploma program are aware that if tartar deposits are left unchecked, then the typically already irritated gums will become even unhappier. Prolonged and worsening inflammation of the gums can cause them to recede, which exposes more of the tootha��s surface to destructive bacteria.
The more bacterial activity there is in the mouth, the more cavities are likely to develop, which, if left untreated, can lead to much worse problems requiring more complex interventions to solve. Gums suffer in the same way that teeth do. The consistent presence of bacteria can permeate deeper and deeper into the soft tissue, potentially causing serious problems like abscesses. If these form deep within the jaw, then the only option to remove them may be surgery.
Long-Term Neglect of Oral Care Can Lead to Heart Disease and Other Concerning Problems
Neglecting oral care doesn’t only have consequences for the teeth, gums, and surrounding areas, but for overall health as well. Periodontitis, the stage of gum disease after gingivitis, can do much more harm than just increase the risk of infection in the jaw. It can also lead to infections elsewhere in the body. This is because the gums contain tiny blood vessels which bacteria can enter. Consequently, they can travel anywhere in the body and wreak havoc.
One of the biggest health risks people with periodontitis may face is heart disease as the presence of harmful bacteria in the bloodstream can harden the arteries of the heart. Periodontitis has also been associated with increased risk for other serious conditions like stomach ulcers, kidney disease, pneumonia, and even cancer. And no one wants that, so keeping on top of proper oral care is extremely important!
Do you want to become a dental hygienist and help clients maintain top oral health?
Contact the Canadian Academy of Dental Health & Community Sciences to learn about our programs!