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DentalHealthy Teeth, Happy Living

Healthy Teeth, Happy Living

In 2021, the World Health Organization (WHO) published an article that mentions the impact of oral health on an individual’s health, and the effect this has on a person’s everyday life together with the importance in performing various functions such as breathing, eating, smiling and socializing.


Several studies confirm that oral health is closely related to overall physical health. Teeth are among the first organs used to digest food. Untreated dental problems can lead to health complications and issues, affecting the digestive system among other systems. For example, severe cavities with abscesses that cause pain and interfere with chewing may lead to flatulence, constipation, indigestion and sepsis in serious cases, resulting in worsening of chronic diseases such as diabetes and certain types of heart diseases.


In this article, I would like to give examples of the relationship of oral health and diseases such as diabetes. Diabetes refers to a disease characterized by constant and chronic high blood sugar, which happens when the body cannot use the sugar absorbed from eating. The cause may be the pancreas’ insufficient insulin production or the body’s inability to use insulin, a condition known as insulin resistance, which results in elevated blood sugar level and lead to many diabetic complications.


Gingivitis is the condition where there is an inflammation of the gum. In most cases, it is caused by the immune system’s reaction to plague build-up on tooth surfaces. In severe cases, which is called periodontitis, the periodontium is inflamed and damaged, resulting in swelling, redness, bleeding while brushing, receding gums, loose teeth, and ultimately tooth loss.


Periodontal disease usually has gradual, vague symptoms. However, basic signs can be observed such as:
  • Red gum line
  • Swollen gum
  • Bleeding while brushing
  • Bad breath
  • Loose teeth
  • Receding gums

It may sound unlikely, but diabetes and periodontal disease are closely linked together. Diabetes is a risk factor for periodontitis and affects its severity. Likewise, periodontitis is among one of the complications associated with diabetic patients. Blood sugar control is key to reducing the risk of diabetic complications to manage the severity of periodontal disease, to reduce the chance of tooth loss, and improve the response to treatment of periodic disease. On the other hand, many studies have found that recovery from periodontitis helps diabetic patients to better control their blood sugar levels.


Due to the significant relationship between both diseases, a holistic treatment from an endocrinologist and a periodontist is recommended. Visiting your dentist every 6 months to examine your oral health, to screen for indicators of potential periodontitis, and to treat any oral issues can ensure sound oral health, which in turn will improve your overall health.


According to global statistics, the incidence of tooth decay, gum disease and tooth loss has remained the same throughout the past three decades, at about 45%. The advice that dentists commonly tell patients is that prevention is more important than treatment. Unfortunately, most of the time dentists meet patients when they seek curative treatment, even though prevention is in fact much easier and cheaper. Here are some simple, everyday tips on how you can easily care for your teeth:


  1. Brushing technique: Brush all sides, placing the bristles at a 45-degree angle to the teeth and gum line. Gently move back and forth, then brush upward from the lower teeth and downward from the upper teeth.
  2. Choose a good toothbrush: One with straight handle, slim head, as well as soft and rounded bristles.
  3. Use appropriate toothpaste: It should contain teeth protection or fortifying ingredients such as fluoride or tricalcium phosphate. In addition, modern formulars include ingredients such as strontium chloride or potassium nitrate to desensitize your teeth. Furthermore, opt for toothpaste with smoother texture to prevent abrasion from the grit in the toothpaste.
  4. Use dental floss on a regular basis: To floss, pull about 1 foot of the dental floss out of the box. Wrap one end around the middle finger, then hold the other end between index finger and thumb to freely control the access of the floss to the tooth necks. Rub the floss in in-out and up-down motions. Do this on each tooth to remove residues or plague between the teeth.
  5. Regularly visit a dentist to examine your dental health every 6 months or more as deemed necessary by your dentist.


Foods that should be avoided due to the negative effects they have on teeth:
  1. Candies: they contain high sugar, which will be broken down to acid and cause tooth decay.
  2. Sweets: in addition to causing weight gain, they also cause tooth decay from flour and sugar in the ingredients.
  3. Soft drinks: not only are they high in sugar, soft drinks contain carbonic acid, which can also damage the enamel.
  4. Acidic fruits: despite their ample benefits, with excessive eating, especially of sour fruits, the acid will wear down your enamel, causing dental erosion. Some people need to see a dentist because of sensitive teeth.
  5. Tea and coffee: although research finds that drinking more than 6 cups of coffee a day can apparently relieve tooth decay compared to people who drink less coffee, don’t forget that drinking coffee or drinks with high caffeine will affect your sleep. Therefore, it is better to drink in moderation and limit adding sugar, as it will increase the risk of tooth decay.


As you can see, caring for your oral health care is a simple matter of incorporating healthy habits daily with some discipline, knowledge, and consistency. Finally, I wish everyone good physical and dental health, and the best approach to good health is prevention instead of cure.


Written by

Suchada Kongkiatkamon, D.D.S.

Assistant Director of Dental Wellness Clinic

Dental implant specialist, oral and maxillofacial surgeon


  1. WHO Discussion Paper: Draft Global Strategy on Oral health; 2021
  2. Bernabe E, Marcenes W, et al. Global, Regional, and National Levels and Trends in Burden of Oral Conditions from 1990 to 2017: A Systematic Analysis for the Global Burden of Disease 2017 Study. J Dent Res. 2020;99(4):362-373.
  3. Anila NP, Kori S. Can coffee prevent caries? J Conserv Dent. 2009;12(1):17-21.
  4. Simpson TC, Weldon JC, Worthington HV, Needleman I, Wild SH, Moles DR, Stevenson B, Furness S, Iheozor-Ejiofor Z. Treatment of periodontal disease for glycaemic control in people with diabetes mellitus. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2015 Nov 6;2015(11):
  5. Frisbee E. An Overview of Gum Disease [Internet]. WebMD. 2021 [cited 7 January 2022]. Available from: https://www.webmd.com/oral-health/guide/gingivitis-periodontal-disease

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