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What Factors Play into Declining Oral Health?

October 2, 2023

Filed under: Uncategorized — sandberg @ 6:54 pm
a patient showing off their healthy, beautiful smile

Did you know that around 37% of adults in the US have gone over a year without visiting their dentist? This is an alarming trend! Oral hygiene is a fundamental part of overall wellness, and your dentist is perhaps your biggest ally when it comes to maintaining a healthy and beautiful smile. But routine professional dental care isn’t all that matters—you must also take care of things at home and be mindful of other things that can influence your pearly whites! Here’s some useful information from your dentist about some of the factors that play into declining oral health, along with a list ranking all 50 states by their average oral wellness.

What Factors Play into Declining Oral Health?

There are several factors that play into declining oral health, some of them obvious, but others that don’t always seem related. Here are five notable ones worth highlighting:

  • Diet – Beyond sugar, several other foods can compromise your oral health. Citrus fruits can wear down the enamel when consumed in excess, and dried fruits are often sticky and can create a film that’s difficult to remove from teeth. Particularly hard or crunchy foods, like nuts and seeds, popcorn, and hard candies can fracture or crack teeth when bitten.
  • Contact with chemicals – Frequent exposure to a variety of chemicals can harm tooth enamel, stain the teeth, and even provoke sensitivity. These chemicals include things like pool chlorine, BPA (found in canned goods and plastic containers), antibiotics, and even the ingredients found in teeth whitening strips.
  • Alcohol and tobacco use – More research is needed to fully understand the link between alcohol consumption and oral health, but studies do indicate that it can increase the risk of periodontal disease, as well as the risk of oral cancer. Needless to say, tobacco is notorious for its damaging effects on the teeth, gums, tongue, and other oral structures.
  • Chronic stress or anxiety – Believe it or not, feeling stressed out can impact your oral health since it’s more likely to trigger inflammation in the gums. This can also factor into bruxism, or teeth grinding; you might feel inclined to clench your jaw or grind your teeth when you’re stressed or anxious.
  • Contact sports – Partaking in sports or physical activities without the proper safety equipment (mouthguard, facemask, etc.) is a surefire way to end up with a serious dental injury.

All 50 US States Ranked by Oral Health

Even though there’s no fully accurate way of measuring every person’s oral wellness, given that everyone’s smile is different, researchers have been able to come up with a graph ranking all 50 states by their average oral health. Here’s what the list looks like, with Wisconsin holding the top spot (per WalletHub, 2023):

  1. Wisconsin
  2. Illinois
  3. District of Columbia
  4. Minnesota
  5. Connecticut
  6. North Dakota
  7. Michigan
  8. Idaho
  9. Massachusetts
  10. Ohio
  11. New Jersey
  12. Iowa
  13. Rhode Island
  14. Nebraska
  15. Hawaii
  16. South Dakota
  17. Washington
  18. Indiana
  19. Delaware
  20. Oregon
  21. Kansas
  22. Virginia
  23. Arizona
  24. Georgia
  25. New Hampshire
  26. Vermont
  27. Utah
  28. Maryland
  29. Pennsylvania
  30. Missouri
  31. North Carolina
  32. New York
  33. New Mexico
  34. Colorado
  35. Maine
  36. Nevada
  37. Wyoming
  38. South Carolina
  39. Oklahoma
  40. Tennessee
  41. Kentucky
  42. Florida
  43. California
  44. Alabama
  45. Alaska
  46. Louisiana
  47. Texas
  48. Montana
  49. West Virginia
  50. Arkansas
  51. Mississippi

The bottom line is that these rankings don’t have to dictate your own life—you have the power to achieve a brighter and whiter smile that’s free from issues! By knowing more about the factors that play a part in declining oral health, you can do what’s necessary to protect and promote your smile.

About the Practice

The talented team at South Jersey Center for Dental Medicine has proudly served patients and families in the Marlton, NJ community for several years, offering a wide range of preventive, cosmetic, and restorative treatment options. If you have any questions about the blog or want to schedule an appointment for yourself or a loved one, feel free to contact the practice online or over the phone for additional information or assistance. Telephone: (856) 596-4333.

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