Dental Health Risk Factors

Lacerations and Cuts

Lacerations and cuts on the inside of and near your mouth can become infected and negatively impact your oral health. Any trauma to the soft tissues of our mouth or broken facial bones should be looked at to avoid infection.

Diabetes

Research shows that those who live with diabetes have increased risk of gum disease due to unsteady blood glucose levels. Inversely, gum disease itself can affect blood glucose levels, making it even more critical that diabetics maintain their oral health. Diabetics also often struggle with dry mouth. A diminished production of saliva means your body will have a harder time self-regulating cavity causing bacteria. Often, these problems go unnoticed or untreated until it is too late, so regular visits to the dentist are crucial in preventing any major issues.

Eating Disorders

Eating disorders pose both negative long and short-term effects on your dental health. First, without proper nutrition, the soft tissues of your mouth are more susceptible to tearing and bleeding. Dry mouth, gingivitis, and canker sores are also common side effects of eating disorders like anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa. Aside from a lack of nutrients, many disorders are linked to behaviors like self-induced vomiting and binge eating. Both of these result in chemical changes within your mouth that can erode tooth enamel. In fact, brushing your teeth after an episode of vomiting actually does more bad than good as you could be rubbing the acid onto youth teeth.

Oral Piercings

While oral piercings are a popular form of self-expression, the damage done to the soft tissues in your mouth could potentially be dangerous. Piercings in or around the mouth, can chip teeth, cause extreme swelling, block airways, or infections. When performed in an unsterile environment, these chances are only more likely so be sure to do your research before closing a piercer. These risks and more make it important to ask the right questions of both your piercer and your dentist to determine if an oral piercing is right for you.

Tobacco

It goes without saying that tobacco use in any form is bad for your health in general, so it’s no surprise that it negatively impacts your oral health. Because of this, the American Dental Association has been a constant fighter in the battle against tobacco-related disease through education and testimonials.

The use of tobacco products produces a host of problems including:

  • oral tissue and bone loss
  • difficulties retaining dental implants
  • gum disease
  • stained teeth and tongue
  • oral cancer

Quitting is the only way to reduce your risk of these and other health concerns that come with using tobacco.

Certain Medications

Many medications (both prescription and over-the-counter) can have negative side-effects on your dental health. For example, antihistamines, painkillers, antidepressants, decongestants, and others can cause the tissues in your mouth to swell, thus hindering saliva production. This results in a condition called dry mouth. It is best practice to notify your dentist of your medical history and medications, vitamins, and supplements you regularly take so they can better tailor your treatment and maintenance plans.