- Oral Health
- How Do These Work in Practice?
- Office of Planning, Analysis, and Evaluation (OPAE)
- Ryan White HIV/AIDS Bureau (HAB)
- Bureau Health Workforce (BHW)
- Bureau of Primary Health Care (BPHC)
- Office of Rural Health Policy (ORHP)
- Your Oral Health Care Plan
- Oral health
- Dental caries (tooth decay)
- Periodontal (gum) disease
- Oral cancer
- Oral manifestations of HIV infection
- Oro-dental trauma
- Cleft lip and palate
- Noncommunicable diseases and common risk factors
- Oral health inequalities
- Access to oral health services
- WHO response
- Oral Health Care
Oral health is an integral part of overall health. To increase access to quality oral health care, HRSA provides support for oral health programs, activities, and initiatives.
To increase early detection and prevention, and improve overall health, HRSA developed the Integrating Oral Health and Primary Care Practice (IOHPCP) (PDF – 784 KB) initiative. This initiative seeks to improve the knowledge and skills of primary care clinicians and promote interprofessional collaboration across health professions.
Additionally, in response to recommendations from the National Academy of Medicine (NAM) , HRSA identified five key oral health domains and associated core clinical competencies.
Purpose: Identifies factors that impact oral health and overall health.
- Conduct patient-specific, oral health risk assessments on all patients.
- Identify patient-specific conditions and medical treatments that impact oral health.
- Identify patient-specific, oral conditions and diseases that impact overall health.
- Integrate epidemiology of caries, periodontal diseases, oral cancer, and common oral trauma into the risk assessment.
Oral Health Evaluation
Purpose: Integrates subjective and objective findings completion of a focused oral health history, risk assessment, and performance of clinical oral screening.
- Perform oral health evaluations linking patient history, risk assessment, and clinical presentation.
- Identify and prioritize strategies to prevent or lessen risk for oral and systemic diseases.
- Layer interventions in accordance with evaluation findings.
Purpose: Recognizes options and strategies to address oral health needs identified by a comprehensive risk assessment and health evaluation.
- Implement appropriate patient-centered preventive oral health interventions and strategies.
- Introduce strategies to reduce identified risk factors.
Communication and Education
Purpose: Targets individuals and groups regarding the relationship between oral and systemic health, risk factors for oral health disorders, effect of nutrition on oral health, and preventive measures appropriate to reduce risk for individuals and populations.
- Provide targeted patient education about importance of oral health and how to maintain good oral health, which considers oral health literacy, nutrition, and patients' perceived oral health barriers.
Interprofessional Collaborative Practice
Purpose: Shares responsibility and collaboration among health care professionals in the care of patients and populations with, or at risk of, oral disorders to ensure optimal health results.
- Exchange meaningful information among health care providers to identify and implement appropriate, high quality care for patients, comprehensive evaluations and options available within the local health delivery and referral system.
- Apply interprofessional practice principles that lead to safe, timely, efficient, and effective planning and delivery of patient and population-centered oral health care.
- Facilitate patient navigation in the oral health care delivery system through collaboration and communication with oral health care providers, and provide appropriate referrals.
How Do These Work in Practice?
In 2013, HRSA awarded the National Network for Oral Health Access (NNOHA) funding to pilot the oral health competencies in three health centers across the country.
A User's Guide for Implementation of Interprofessional Oral Health Core Clinical Competencies: Results of a Pilot Project (PDF – 4.7 KB) describes the challenges associated with developing a new program, strategies to address these challenges, and recommendations for implementing the program in primary care settings.
HRSA bureaus and offices support a variety of programs, activities, and initiatives that improve oral health.
Office of Planning, Analysis, and Evaluation (OPAE)
OPAE provides HRSA-wide oral health leadership for cross-agency initiatives and departmental priorities. They also administer the National Organizations for State and Local Officials (NOSLO) and National Forum for State and Territorial Chief Executives (National Forum) cooperative agreement programs which supports activities that address oral health.
Ryan White HIV/AIDS Bureau (HAB)
The Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program provides related care and services to more than 500,000 people every year, including dental programs to address the unique health issues faced by people living with HIV/AIDS.
Bureau Health Workforce (BHW)
Oral Health Workforce Development Programs help build and train the oral health workforce, improving access to quality oral healthcare for those most in need.
The National Health Service Corps offers loan repayments and scholarships for health care professionals, including dentists and dental hygienists that practice in Health Professional Shortage Areas (HPSAs).
The National Center for Health Workforce Analysis supports Health Workforce Research Centers at various universities through cooperative agreements including the Oral Health Workforce Research Center at the State University of New York at Albany.
Bureau of Primary Health Care (BPHC)
HRSA's Health Center program increases access to quality primary health care services, including oral health, for medically underserved populations. Most grantees also provide dental services either on-site or by paid referral.
- 2016: 420 health center grantees received additional funding to increase oral health services as part of the HRSA Oral Health Expansion Supplement effort.
- 2016: Health centers provided more than 14 million dental visits — an increase of 56% since 2010.
Office of Rural Health Policy (ORHP)
- Rural Health Care Services Outreach program supports projects that demonstrate creative and effective models of outreach and service delivery in rural communities.
- In 2017, ORHP awarded 60 new Outreach Grants, including 11 new grantees with a focus in oral health care delivery. These programs seek to improve access to affordable oral health care services in rural areas.
- Rural Oral Health Toolkit helps programs to identify and implement oral health services and provides examples of resources and best practices.
- Rural Health Network Development supports rural integrated health care network, integrating systems of care administratively, clinically and financially.
- Two grantees are engaged in oral health projects.
Your Oral Health Care Plan
Good oral health involves more than just brushing. To keep your teeth and mouth healthy for a lifetime of use, there are steps that you should follow. Here's what you should consider:
Talk with your dentist, other oral health care specialist, or hygienist about any special conditions in your mouth and any ways in which your medical/health conditions affect your teeth or oral health.
For example, cancer treatments, pregnancy, heart diseases, diabetes, dental appliances (dentures, braces) can all impact your oral health and may necessitate a change in the care of your mouth and/or teeth.
Be sure to tell your dentist if you have experienced a change in your general health or in any medications you are taking since your last dental visit.
discussions with your oral health care provider about health conditions you may have, develop an oral health routine that is easy to follow on a daily basis.
For example, people with special conditions, including pregnancy and diabetes, may require additional instruction and perhaps treatments to keep their mouth healthy.
Make sure you understand the additional care and/or treatment that is needed, commit to the extra tasks, and work them into your daily health routine.
Children and adults benefit from fluoride use. Fluoride strengthens developing teeth in children and prevents tooth decay in both children and adults. Toothpastes and mouth rinses contain fluoride.
Fluoride levels in tap water may not be high enough without supplementation to prevent tooth decay. Contact your water utility to determine the level for your area. Talk with your dentist about your fluoride needs.
Ask if fluoride supplements or a higher strength, prescription fluoride product is necessary for you.
Brush your teeth at least twice a day (morning and before bed time) and floss at least once a day. Better still, brush after every meal and snack. These activities remove plaque, which if not removed, combines with sugars to form acids that lead to tooth decay. Bacterial plaque also causes gum disease and other periodontal diseases.
Antibacterial mouth rinses also reduce bacteria that cause plaque and gum disease, and fluoride mouth rinse can help prevent tooth decay.
Eat a variety of foods, but eat fewer foods that contain sugars and starches (for example, cookies, cakes, pies, candies, ice cream, dried fruits and raisins, soft drinks, potato chips). These foods produce the most acids in the mouth, which begin the decay process. If you do snack, brush teeth afterward or chew sugarless gum.
Smoking cigarettes or using smokeless tobacco products increases the risk of oral cancer and cancers of the larynx, pharynx and esophagus; gum disease; bad breath; tooth discoloration; and other oral and general health problems.
Become familiar with the appearance of your own mouth and teeth through frequent examination. This way, you will be able to catch any changes at an early stage and have these changes examined by a dentist.
Look for the development of any spots, lesions, cuts, swellings, or growths on your gums, tongue, cheeks, inside of your lips, and floor and roof of your mouth. Examine your teeth for any signs of chipping or cracking, discoloration, and looseness. If you experience a change in your bite or develop pain, call your dentist as soon as possible.
An oral exam is particularly important to conduct if you are a tobacco user, since you are at an increased risk of developing oral cancer.
The standard recommendation is to visit your dentist twice a year for check-ups and cleanings. Talk with your dentist about the frequency that is best for you.
Don't be afraid to ask your dentist for more information if you don't understand a treatment or procedure. You should be able to have a free and frank discussion with your dentist. Here are questions you may want to ask:
- What are the treatment options for a particular dental condition?
- How do these options differ in cost and durability?
- Do all the options solve the problem? What are the benefits and drawbacks of each option?
- Of the dental treatments being recommended, which are absolutely necessary, which are less urgent, which are elective, and which are merely cosmetic?
- What are the consequences of delaying treatment?
- How much will the treatment cost?
- When is payment due?
- What method of payment does your dentist expect?
- Do you have a clear understanding of all fees and methods and schedules of payment?
SOURCE: American Dental Association.
© 2018 WebMD, LLC. All rights reserved. Teeth and Gum Care
The majority of oral health conditions are: dental caries (tooth decay), periodontal diseases, oral cancers, oral manifestations of HIV, oro-dental trauma, cleft lip and palate, and noma (severe gangrenous disease starting in the mouth mostly affecting children). Most oral health conditions are largely preventable and can be treated in their early stages.
The Global Burden of Disease Study 2017 estimated that oral diseases affect close to 3.5 billion people worldwide, with caries of permanent teeth being the most common condition. Globally, it is estimated that 2.3 billion people suffer from caries of permanent teeth and more than 530 million children suffer from caries of primary teeth.2
In most low- and middle-income countries, with increasing urbanization and changes in living conditions, the prevalence of oral diseases continues to increase.
This is primarily due to inadequate exposure to fluoride (in the water supply and oral hygiene products such as toothpaste) and poor access to oral health care services in the community.
Marketing of food and beverages high in sugar, as well as tobacco and alcohol, has led to a growing consumption of products that contribute to oral health conditions and other noncommunicable diseases.
Dental caries (tooth decay)
Dental caries result when plaque forms on the surface of a tooth and converts the free sugars (all sugars added to foods by the manufacturer, cook, or consumer, plus sugars naturally present in honey, syrups, and fruit juices) contained in foods and drinks into acids that destroy the tooth over time. A continued high intake of free sugars, inadequate exposure to fluoride and a lack of removal of plaque by toothbrushing can lead to caries, pain and sometimes tooth loss and infection.
Periodontal (gum) disease
Periodontal disease affects the tissues that both surround and support the tooth. The disease is characterized by bleeding or swollen gums (gingivitis), pain and sometimes bad breath.
In its more severe form, the gum can come away from the tooth and supporting bone, causing teeth to become loose and sometimes fall out. Severe periodontal diseases are estimated to affect nearly 10% of the global population.
The main causes of periodontal disease are poor oral hygiene and tobacco use.
Oral cancer includes cancers of the lip, other parts of the mouth and the oropharynx. The global incidence of cancers of the lip and oral cavity) is estimated at 4 cases per 100 000 people.
However, there is wide variation across the globe: from no recorded cases to around 20 cases per 100 000 people.
3 Oral cancer is more common in men and in older people, and varies strongly by socio-economic condition.
In some Asian-Pacific countries, the incidence of oral cancer ranks among the three top cancers.3 Tobacco, alcohol and areca nut (betel quid) use are among the leading causes of oral cancer.4 In North America and Europe, human papillomavirus infections are responsible for a growing percentage of oral cancers among young people.5
Oral manifestations of HIV infection
Oral manifestations occur in 30-80% of people with HIV,6 with considerable variations depending on the affordability of standard antiretroviral therapy (ART).
Oral manifestations include fungal, bacterial or viral infections of which oral candidiasis is the most common and often the first symptom. Oral HIV lesions cause pain, discomfort, dry mouth, and difficulties swallowing.
Early detection of HIV-related oral lesions can be used to diagnose HIV infection and monitor the disease’s progression. Early detection is also important for timely treatment.
Oro-dental trauma results from injury to the teeth, mouth and oral cavity. Around 20% of people suffer from trauma to teeth at some point in their life.
7 Oro-dental trauma can be caused by oral factors such as lack of alignment of teeth and environmental factors (such as unsafe playgrounds, risk-taking behaviour and violence).
Treatment is costly and lengthy and sometimes can even lead to tooth loss, resulting in complications for facial and psychological development and quality of life.
Noma is a severe gangrenous disease of the mouth and the face. It mostly affects children between the ages of 2 and 6 years suffering from malnutrition, affected by infectious disease, living in extreme poverty with poor oral hygiene and/or with weakened immune systems.
Noma is mostly found in sub-Saharan Africa, although cases have also been reported in Latin America and Asia. Noma starts as a soft tissue lesion (a sore) of the gums, inside the mouth. The initial gum lesion then develops into an acute necrotizing gingivitis that progresses rapidly, destroying the soft tissues and further progressing to involve the hard tissues and skin of the face.
In 1998, WHO estimated that there were 140 000 new cases of noma annually. Without treatment, noma is fatal in 90% of cases.
Survivors suffer from severe facial disfigurement, have difficulty speaking and eating, face social stigma, and require complex surgery and rehabilitation.
Where noma is detected at an early stage, its progression can be rapidly halted, through basic hygiene, antibiotics and improved nutrition.
Cleft lip and palate
Clefts of the lip or palate affect more than 1 in 1000 newborns worldwide. Genetic predisposition is a major cause.
However, poor maternal nutrition, tobacco consumption, alcohol and obesity during pregnancy also play a role.8 In low-income settings, there is a high mortality rate in the neonatal period.
If lip and palate clefts are properly treated by surgery, complete rehabilitation is possible.
Noncommunicable diseases and common risk factors
Most oral diseases and conditions share modifiable risk factors (such as tobacco use, alcohol consumption and an unhealthy diet high in free sugars) common to the four leading noncommunicable diseases (cardiovascular disease, cancer, chronic respiratory disease and diabetes).
In addition, it is reported that diabetes is linked in a reciprocal way with the development and progression of periodontal disease. Moreover, there is a causal link between the high consumption of sugar and diabetes, obesity and dental caries.
Oral health inequalities
Oral diseases disproportionally affect the poor and socially-disadvantaged members of society.
There is a very strong and consistent association between socioeconomic status (income, occupation and educational level) and the prevalence and severity of oral diseases.
9 This association exists from early childhood to older age, and across populations in high-, middle- and low-income countries.
The burden of oral diseases and other noncommunicable diseases can be reduced through public health interventions by addressing common risk factors.
- promoting a well-balanced diet low in free sugars and high in fruit and vegetables, and favouring water as the main drink;
- stopping use of all forms of tobacco, including chewing of areca nuts;
- reducing alcohol consumption; and
- encouraging use of protective equipment when doing sports and travelling on bicycles and motorcycles (to reduce the risk of facial injuries).
Adequate exposure to fluoride is an essential factor in the prevention of dental caries.
An optimal level of fluoride can be obtained from different sources such as fluoridated drinking water, salt, milk and toothpaste. Twice-daily tooth brushing with fluoride-containing toothpaste (1000 to 1500 ppm) should be encouraged.
Access to oral health services
Unequal distribution of oral health professionals and a lack of appropriate health facilities in most countries means that access to primary oral health services is often low.
Overall, according to a survey of adults expressing a need for oral health services, access ranges from 35% in low-income countries to 60% in lower-middle-income countries, 75% in upper-middle income countries and 82% in high-income countries.
10 Moreover, even in high income settings, dental treatment is costly, averaging 5% of total health expenditure and 20% of out-of-pocket health expenditure.
11 Efforts in support of UHC can help frame policy dialogue to address weak primary oral health services, and address substantial out-of-pocket expenses associated with oral health care in many countries.
Eight years after the United Nations High-Level Meeting on Noncommunicable Diseases recognized that oral diseases pose a major health burden for many countries, 2019 saw the inclusion of oral health in the Political Declaration on Universal Health Coverage. During the same period, Members States, with the support of the WHO, developed and endorsed strong regional strategies and calls for action in favour of oral health in the African, East Mediterranean, South-East Asia and Western Pacific regions.
In such a context, WHO is committed to ensuring promotion of oral health and quality, essential treatment for oral health conditions for all people in all countries without individual financial hardship.
Reducing oral health conditions calls for a reform of oral health systems to shift the focus from invasive dental treatment to prevention and more minor treatment.
WHO has identified key strategies for improving oral health, with a focus on low-income and marginalized populations where access to oral health care is most limited. These include strengthening both cost-effective population-wide prevention and patient-centred primary health care.
This work is being implemented through a three-year roadmap (2019-2021) that comprises a mix of normative work and practical support to countries. A top priority is the development of a global oral health report, which will provide information about the status of oral health globally. The report will serve as the evidence base for the development of a global oral health action plan.
WHO also supports countries in this area by:
- supporting interventions to accelerate the phase-down of dental amalgam in the context of the Minamata Convention on Mercury;
- building capacity and providing technical assistance to countries to support a life-course approach and population-based strategies to reduce sugar consumption, control tobacco use, and promote fluoride-containing toothpaste and other vehicles of fluoride;
- providing assistance to strengthen oral health systems such that they are an integral part of primary health care and do not cause financial hardship; and
- reinforcing oral health information systems and integrated surveillance with other noncommunicable diseases to demonstrate the scale and impact of the problem and to monitor progress achieved in countries.
1. United Nations General Assembly. Political Declaration of the High-level Meeting of the General Assembly on the Prevention and Control of Noncommunicable Diseases. Resolution A/66/L1. 2011
2. Global, regional, and national incidence, prevalence, and years lived with disability for 354 diseases and injuries for 195 countries and territories, 1990–2017: a systematic analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study 2017. Lancet 2018; 392: 1789–8583
3. Ferlay J EM, Lam F, Colombet M, Mery L, Piñeros M, Znaor A, Soerjomataram I, Bray F. Global Cancer Observatory: Cancer Today. Lyon, France: International Agency for Research on Cancer. Published 2018. Accessed 14 September, 2018.
4. Mehrtash H, Duncan K, Parascandola M, et al. Defining a global research and policy agenda for betel quid and areca nut. Lancet Oncol. 2017;18(12):e767-e775.
5. Mehanna H, Beech T, Nicholson T, et al. Prevalence of human papillomavirus in oropharyngeal and nonoropharyngeal head and neck cancer–systematic review and meta-analysis of trends by time and region. Head Neck. 2013;35(5):747-755.
6. Reznik DA. Oral manifestations of HIV disease. Top HIV Med. 2005;13(5):143-148.
7. Petti S, Glendor U, Andersson L. World traumatic dental injury prevalence and incidence, a meta-analysis – One billion living people have had traumatic dental injuries. Dent Traumatol. 2018.
8. Mossey PA, Little J, Munger RG, Dixon MJ, Shaw WC. Cleft lip and palate. Lancet. 2009;374(9703):1773-1785.
9. Marco A Peres and Al. Oral diseases: a global public health challenge. Lancet. 2019 https://doi.org/10.1016/S0140-6736(19)31146-8
10. Hosseinpoor AR, Itani L, Petersen PE. Socio-economic inequality in oral healthcare coverage: results from the World Health Survey. J Dent Res. 2012;91(3):275-281.
11. OECD. Health at a Glance 2017: OECD indicators. Published 2017. Accessed 15 February 2018.
Oral Health Care
A healthy smile is a bonus at any age. Too often older people, neglect the health of their teeth. It is never too late to learn the basics of oral health care.
Tooth Decay (Cavities)
Tooth decay is not just a children's disease; it can happen as long as natural teeth are in the mouth. Tooth decay is caused by bacteria that normally live in the mouth. The bacteria cling to teeth and form a sticky, colorless film called dental plaque.
The bacteria in plaque live on sugars and produce decay causing acids that dissolve minerals on tooth surfaces.
Tooth decay can also develop on the exposed roots of the teeth if you have gum disease or receding gums (where gums pull away from the teeth, exposing the roots).
Just as with children, fluoride is important for adult teeth. Research has shown that adding fluoride to the water supply is the best and least costly way to prevent tooth decay. In addition, using fluoride tooth pastes and mouth rinses can add protection.
Daily fluoride rinses can be bought at most drug stores without a prescription. If you have a problem with cavities, your dentist or dental hygienist may give you a fluoride treatment during the office visit.
The dentist may prescribe a fluoride gel or a mouth rinse for you to use at home.
Gum (Periodontal) Disease
A common cause of tooth loss after age 35 is gum (periodontal) disease. These are infections of the gum and bone that hold the teeth in place. Gum diseases are also caused by dental plaque. The bacteria in plaque causes the gums to become inflamed and bleed easily. If left untreated, the disease gets worse as pockets of infection form between the teeth and gums.
This causes receding gums and loss of supporting bone. You may lose enough bone to cause your teeth to become loose and fall out. You can prevent gum disease by removing plaque. Thoroughly brush and floss your teeth each day. Carefully check your mouth for early signs of disease such as red, swollen, or bleeding gums.
See your dentist regularly every 6-12 months – or at once if these signs are present.
Cleaning Your Teeth and Gums
An important part of good oral health is knowing how to brush and floss correctly. Thorough brushing each day removes plaque.
Gently brush the teeth on all sides with a soft bristle brush using a fluoride toothpaste. Circular and short back-and-forth strokes work best. Take the time to brush carefully along the gum line.
Lightly brushing your tongue also helps to remove plaque and food debris and makes your mouth feel fresh.
In addition to brushing, using dental floss is necessary to keep the gums healthy. Proper flossing is important because it removes plaque and leftover food that a toothbrush cannot reach. Your dentist or dental hygienist can show you the best way to brush and floss your teeth. If brushing or flossing results in bleeding gums, pain, or irritation, see your dentist at once.
An antibacterial mouth rinse, approved for the control of plaque and swollen gums, may be prescribed by your dentist. The mouth rinse is used in addition to careful daily brushing and flossing. Some people (with arthritis or other conditions that limit motion) may find it hard to hold a toothbrush.
To overcome this, the toothbrush handle can be attached to the hand with a wide elastic band or may be enlarged by attaching it to a sponge, styrofoam ball, or similar object. People with limited shoulder movement may find brushing easier if the handle of the brush is lengthened by attaching a long piece of wood or plastic.
Electric toothbrushes are helpful to many.
Other Conditions of the Mouth
Dry mouth (xerostomia) is common in many adults and may make it hard to eat, swallow, taste, and speak.
The condition happens when salivary glands fail to work properly as a result of various diseases or medical treatments, such as chemotherapy or radiation therapy to the head and neck area.
Dry mouth is also a side effect of more than 400 commonly used medicines, including drugs for high blood pressure, antidepressants, and antihistamines. Dry mouth can affect oral health by adding to tooth decay and infection.
Until recently, dry mouth was regarded as a normal part of aging. We now know that healthy older adults produce as much saliva as younger adults. So, if you think you have dry mouth, talk with your dentist or doctor. To relieve the dryness, drink extra water and avoid sugary snacks, beverages with caffeine, tobacco, and alcohol – all of which increase dryness in the mouth.
Cancer therapies, such as radiation to the head and neck or chemotherapy, can cause oral problems, including dry mouth, tooth decay, painful mouth sores, and cracked and peeling lips.
Before starting cancer treatment, it is important to see a dentist and take care of any necessary dental work.
Your dentist will also show you how to care for your teeth and mouth before, during, and after your cancer treatment to prevent or reduce the oral problems that can occur.
Oral cancer (mouth cancer) (431) most often occurs in people over age 40. The disease frequently goes unnoticed in its early, curable stages.
This is true in part because many older people, particularly those wearing full dentures, do not visit their dentists often enough and because pain is usually not an early symptom of the disease.
People who smoke cigarettes, use other tobacco products, or drink excessive amounts of alcohol are at increased risk for oral cancer.
It is important to spot oral cancer as early as possible, since treatment works best before the disease has spread.
If you notice any red or white patches on the gums or tongue, sores that do not heal within 2 weeks, or if you have difficulty chewing or swallowing, be sure to see a dentist.
A head and neck exam, which should be a part of every dental check-up, will allow your dentist to detect early signs of oral cancer. Top Problems in Your Mouth See Slideshow
If you wear false teeth (dentures), keep them clean and free from food that can cause stains, bad breath, and gum irritation. Once a day, brush all surfaces of the dentures with a denture care product.
Remove your dentures from your mouth and place them in water or a denture cleansing liquid while you sleep.
It is also helpful to rinse your mouth with a warm salt water solution in the morning, after meals, and at bedtime.
Partial dentures should be cared for in the same way as full dentures. Because bacteria tend to collect under the clasps of partial dentures, it is especially important to clean this area. Dentures will seem awkward at first.
When learning to eat with false teeth, select soft nonsticky food, cut food into small pieces, and chew slowly using both sides of the mouth. Dentures may make your mouth less sensitive to hot foods and liquids, and lower your ability to detect harmful objects such as bones.
If problems in eating, talking, or simply wearing dentures continue after the first few weeks, see your dentist about making adjustments.
In time, dentures need to be replaced or readjusted because of changes that occur in tissues of your mouth. Do not try to repair dentures at home since this may damage the dentures which in turn may further hurt your mouth.
Dental implants are anchors that permanently hold replacement teeth. There are several different types of implants, but the most popular are metal screws surgically placed into the jaw bones. If there isn't enough bone, a separate surgical procedure to add bone may be needed.
Because bone heals slowly, treatment with implants can often take longer (4 months to 1 year or more) than bridges or dentures.
If you are considering dental implants, it is important to select an experienced dentist with whom you can discuss your concerns frankly beforehand to be certain the procedure is right for you.
In addition to practicing good oral hygiene, it is important to have regular check-ups by the dentist whether you have natural teeth or dentures. It is also important to follow through with any special treatments that are necessary to ensure good oral health.
For instance, if you have sensitive teeth caused by receding gums, your dentist may suggest using a special toothpaste for a few months. Teeth are meant to last a lifetime. By taking good care of your teeth and gums, you can protect them for years to come.