“There is no health without oral health.” You may have heard this statement but what does it mean?
The health of our mouth, or oral health, is more important than many of us may realize. It is a key indicator of overall health, which is essential to our well-being and quality of life.
Although preventable to a great extent, untreated tooth decay (or cavities) is the most common health condition worldwide. When we think about the potential consequences of untreated oral diseases including pain, reduced quality of life, lost school days, disruption to family life, and decreased work productivity, making sure our mouths stay healthy is incredibly important.
The mouth, also called the oral cavity, starts at the lips and ends at the throat. A healthy mouth and well-functioning teeth are important at all stages of life since they support human functions like breathing, speaking, and eating. In a healthy mouth, tissues are moist, odor-free, and pain-free. When we talk about a healthy mouth, we are not just talking about the teeth but also the gingival tissue (or gums) and the supporting bone, known together as the periodontium. The gingiva may vary in color from coral pink to heavily pigmented and vary in pattern and color between different people. Healthy gingiva is firm, not red or swollen, and does not bleed when brushed or flossed. A healthy mouth has no untreated tooth decay and no evidence of lumps, ulcers, or unusual color on or under the tongue, cheeks, or gums. Teeth should not be wiggly but firmly attached to the gingiva and bone. It should not hurt to chew or brush your teeth.