Health Risks of Poor Oral Hygiene

Did you know that brushing and flossing your teeth on a regular basis does much more than keep your teeth and gums healthy? Good oral hygiene habits also helps to prevent serious illness that you may not have even known could be caused by poor dental care.

Ali Ghahary - GingivitisGingivitis, for example, is the leading cause of bleeding gums, and it affects as many as 1 out of every 2 Canadians. Gingivitis is most commonly caused by lack of oral hygiene – such as daily brushing and flossing. By brushing and flossing regularly, you remove the build-up of plaque. Failure to remove plaque then leads to the gums becoming red, sore and inflamed.

The first step in treating gingivitis is to get a thorough teeth cleaning done by a hygienist. A hygienist has proper dental tools to be able to remove the build-up of plaque that you may not be able to remove yourself by simply brushing. To continue your care and ensure your gums are on a healthy path, the hygienist will usually go over proper brushing and flossing techniques with the patient. Gargling with a warm salt-water rinse or antibacterial mouthwash may also be recommended by your hygienist or dentist, as well as more frequent teeth-cleaning appointments.

By leaving gingivitis untreated, you are at a high risk of developing cardiovascular disease. This is due to the fact that gingivitis can also cause infection of the gums, and the bacteria as a result of the infection can enter into the blood stream, travel directly to the arteries in the heart, and cause a condition known as atherosclerosis – commonly referred to as hardening of the arteries, which can block the body’s blood flow. Bacteria from infected gums can also enter the brain through certain nerve channels or via the blood stream, which can then lead to the development of dementia. You can also develop respiratory infections after a prolonged period of time, and even complications of diabetes. Individuals with diabetes are much more susceptible to dental disease such as gingivitis, so proper dental care is especially important in those with pre-existing health conditions such as this.

Ali Ghahary - Dental Extraction

As mentioned in Dr. Ali Ghahary’s earlier article, lack of oral hygiene can also lead to tooth decay, which can then lead to potentially requiring a root canal – or, if the tooth cannot be saved, extraction. Dental extractions can be hard on the body, and the recovery process isn’t always a fun one. For instance, dry socket (also known as alveolar osteitis) is a common but extremely painful condition that can happen after dental extractions. Dry socket occurs when a blood clot does not properly form (or is lost) in the area of the extraction, leaving underlying nerves exposed, thus causing pain. In order to treat dry socket, your dentist will first clean the area and then place a special dressing in the extraction site to help speed up the healing process, though it can take several days for the pain of dry socket to diminish.

As with any dental procedure, always follow any post-op instructions given to you by your dentist and be sure to see them for a follow-up appointment if you have any concerns or questions. If you are experiencing pain and are unable to make an appointment with your dentist, try using over-the-counter analgesics such as Advil or Tylenol. Dr. Ali Ghahary, a family physician practicing at Brentwood Medical Clinic in Burnaby, may also be able to make recommendations until you are able to see your dentist. To see Dr. Ali Ghahary, no appointment is necessary; you can view his walk-in schedule by visiting alighahary.ca/schedule. If the pain becomes unbearable then a visit to the emergency room may be warranted.

Avoiding Misdiagnosis

While the exact number of misdiagnosed patients is unknown, it is, unfortunately, something that can occur in healthcare. A misdiagnosis can have devastating consequences and can even be fatal, which is why it is imperative for physicians to come up with the correct diagnosis.

In order for a diagnosis to be accurate, patients and healthcare providers, such as doctors, lab workers, nurses and other specialists, should work together as a team. It is also important for physicians to build a good rapport with patients. This will also allow for open and honest communication – something that is extremely important to Vancouver physician Dr. Ali Ghahary. On his website, alighaharyvancouver.ca, Dr. Ghahary discusses why it is so crucial to build trust in the doctor-patient relationship. In utilizing a gentle and compassionate approach, he has quickly become one of the top-rated doctors in Vancouver today.

Dr. Ali Ghahary understands that it is important to take the healthcare complaints of patients seriously.

Patients can also play a significant role in helping physicians be able to accurately diagnose any ailments…

First and foremost, never hesitate to ask questions. There is absolutely NO question that you could ask that would be considered wrong, stupid or embarrassing, especially when it pertains to your health.

Secondly, you should be precise about describing any symptoms that you may be experiencing; for example, if you have a sore eye, do not just say, “I have a sore eye.” Is it red? Itchy? Painful? Letting your doctor know exactly how you feel is of the utmost importance. You should also track your symptoms. For instance, if you suffer from chronic migraines, Dr. Ali Ghahary recommends patients keep what is known as a migraine diary. As migraine intensity and symptoms can vary from one day to the next, keeping track of them will help give your physician a better understanding of exactly how migraines affect you, what some of the common triggers are, and what kind of treatment is best suited for you. A great app to help keep track of migraines is Migraine Buddy, which is available for download on Google Play (Android) or the App Store (iPhone.)

Lastly, keep an up-to-date list of all medications. You should be aware of exactly what you’re taking and why, the dosing instructions, and you should also be aware of any potential side-effects or interactions with any other medication.