The Prevention of Oral Disease

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While oral health in America has improved overall over the past several decades, a sizable number of Americans still go without basic dental care, which leads to greater rates of oral diseases. Oral diseases, from tooth decay to gum disease and oral cancer, still cause significant pain and hardship for many adults and children in the US, particularly those lacking access to care and preventive services.

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Poor children suffer twice as much dental caries as their more affluent peers, and their disease is more likely to be untreated. And, children and adolescents with special health care needs have a particularly high risk of dental caries, yet even higher unmet needs. And, the burden is worse for lower-income families because those children do not get timely treatment for cavities.

Many Americans are at higher risk of being uninsured, lacking access to care, and experiencing worse health outcomes, including people of color and low-income individuals. In , more than million US children and adults lacked dental insurance , and only about one-third of U. And preventive care is key because people who receive regular preventive dental care and develop good habits as children tend to have better oral health over their lifetime.

Another consequence of insufficient dental insurance is was teful emergency room visits for preventable dental conditions. Most emergency rooms ER do not have dentists on staff to provide dental treatment so patients are typically prescribed painkillers or antibiotics. Oral diseases such as cavities can cause decreased appetite, depression, and inability to focus attention — all of which can lead to lower school attendance and learning performance.

On average, a child with poor oral health will miss another day of school per year. Children in low-income families with limited access to preventive care will miss 3 times as many school days due to oral health problems. And, inadequate preventive care and untreated oral disease have long-standing consequences.

Preventing gum disease

Over time, teeth and gums can become seriously diseased and require costly treatment or worse — lead to multiple or complete loss of teeth. Adopting good oral hygiene habits early in life combined with preventive care helps to maintain optimal oral health into old age and ensures you live not only a longer life, but also one free from the physical pain and often emotional suffering caused by oral disease. Access to preventive oral health care is particularly important for two reasons.

  • Dental public health.
  • Preventing Oral Health Problems.
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One great example of good preventive practice is dental sealants, thin, plastic coatings painted on the chewing surfaces to form a shield and seal out decay. Not only have sealants been shown to have a big effect on cavity prevention, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention CDC has found that the cost savings from future cavities and productivity losses from parents leaving work to take their child to the dentist outweighed the costs of running school-based dental sealant programs.

We help remove the barriers that limit access to dental care through affordable care, education and outreach. Learn more about our Patient care services. These services can be completed using inhalation sedation Nitrous oxide , moderate sedation, and general anesthesia. Learn more about our Pediatric Dentistry services. We are addressing the need for new generations of dental care providers by training and graduating new dentists each year, most of which go on to practice in the state of IL and Chicago area.

We demonstrate practical ways to adopt good oral health habits, and how to avoid risk factors such as high-sugar diets, tobacco, and the connections of oral disease to other conditions such as heart disease and stroke, cancer, chronic respiratory diseases and diabetes. Learn more about our Academic Programs. Through basic, translational and community-based discoveries, we want to transform oral health care practice and outcomes for the benefit of our local communities, as well as global society. Learn more about our Research areas.

The program brings together a team of clinical pediatricians and dentists, researchers, health psychologists, and policy experts to rigorously test the ability of an oral health promotion intervention to improve child and family oral health.

Is Oral Health Linked To Heart Health?

The program will emphasize family-focused education and support from community health workers in a range of settings at home and in health centers to find the best methods of reaching people and changing behaviors. Pediatric dentists in the College of Dentistry are developing a training curriculum for community health workers to educate some 1, families in Chicago, and evaluate their overall oral health and the incidence of cavities in the children. Learn more about our Community Health programs.

Most bacteria in our bodies are harmless; some are even beneficial. Then there are the bacteria that [ Prevention and Public Health. November 2, Oral health is often taken for granted, but it is an essential part of our everyday lives. Lack of insurance and increased cost is a significant barrier Not having insurance and increased costs of healthcare is a significant barrier to good oral health --and puts a strain on our healthcare system. First, many oral disease conditions are indeed preventable with early treatment.

Second, preventive dental care practices-- including early and routine treatment at the dentist, combined with good home care brushing and flossing -- can save families money in the long-run. These savings can be greatest for low-income families because they have less disposal income, and more preventable oral disease. ScienceDaily, 26 October Oral Health.

Related Content. You might be surprised to know that the benefits of maintaining good dental health extend [ Financial limitations often prevent people from getting timely dental care. As you age, you can become less able to chew effectively, especially if you have missing teeth or ill-fitting dentures.

You may take medications that cause dry mouth.

Prevention starts at home

This problem can cause difficulty swallowing, which may lead to malnutrition. In addition, having a dry mouth can allow bacteria to build up, causing bad breath, gum disease, and infection. This is often a result of barriers to good oral hygiene, such as arthritis and memory impairment. Residents of long-term care facilities or other group homes include not only elderly adults but also children and adults with physical or mental disabilities. They often depend on caregivers for proper oral hygiene.

This care is sometimes difficult to provide. A resident may become agitated if they misunderstand the caregiver's intent. In fact, aggression among residents of long-term care facilities is most likely to be seen while personal care is being given, such as when a caregiver is assisting with tooth brushing.

As a result, oral care may be rushed or skipped altogether. Special measures, such as the use of physical restraints or medications, may be needed to allow the caregiver to proceed with the oral hygiene regimen. In addition, people with HIV or AIDS may develop other fungal infections of the mouth, such as histoplasmosis, aspergillosis, and oral candidiasis. While some groups of people may need to pay extra attention to their oral health, everyone should practice good oral hygiene.

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Oral Disease Prevention Project

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