The World Health Organization (WHO) reports that 45% of the world’s population currently suffer from oral diseases with a disproportionate amount affecting lower income populations.  Common dental diseases include dental caries (tooth decay), gum disease (periodontal disease), tooth loss, and oral cancer.  Nearly 90% of adults have had decay in one or more of their teeth throughout their lifetime.  Over 42% of the population over the age of 30 is affected by periodontal (gum) disease, which can lead to tooth mobility and eventually tooth loss.  Poor dental health can be linked to other systemic health conditions, such as dementia, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, obesity, and cancer.  Dental care remains the number one unmet need of Ohio’s population, but good oral home care is the best way to prevent the need for costly and invasive dental treatment.


  • Visit your dentist regularly, at least every 6 months or as recommended by your provider.
  • Brush twice a day for 2 minutes with fluoridated toothpaste, making large circles with your brush where the gum and tooth meet, and only scrubbing back and forth on the chewing surfaces of teeth.
  • Floss once a day, preferably at night before bed.
  • If you have pain or tenderness in your jaw, especially in the morning, consider using a night guard to protect your teeth while nighttime grinding.


  • Drink sugary beverages, including milk, juice, and soda throughout the day. Instead, drink plain water.
  • Think that “because nothing hurts” that you don’t need routine dental appointments. Most cavities are painless until they reach the nerve of the tooth, which then would require the tooth to undergo more expensive and invasive treatment, such as a root canal procedure or removal of the offending tooth.
  • Believe your oral cavity is separate from your systemic health, and that your medications do not affect your oral health. Many medications cause xerostomia (dry mouth) which increases the risk of cavities, mouth sores, and halitosis (bad breath).
  • Assume that if you have no teeth that you don’t need a dentist. An oral cancer screening is recommended annually for everyone!

Your teeth must last you a lifetime, so be kind to them!  Making small changes to your oral home care routine can lead to massive benefits to your dental and whole body health, both short and long term.


“Oral Systemic Health.”  American Dental Association. Sept. 11 2023.

“Periodontal Disease in Adults (Age 30 or Older).”  National Institute of Dental and Craniofaciial Research.  National Institute of Health. Aug. 1 2021.

“Who Highlights Oral Health Neglect Affecting Nearly Half of the World’s Population.” World Health Organization, World Health Organization, Nov. 18 2022.