If you recently moved into a new home or apartment with roommates or with a significant other and your oral health has declined, you may think that the fact that your gums or teeth are not as healthy as before you moved is just a coincidence. It may not be as coincidental as you think, and it is a good idea to see if any changes in your home environment are to blame. The good news is that once you find out the culprit in your new environment that is leading to your dental health decline, including one of the following three factors, you and your housemates can work together to make your new home more oral-health friendly.
1. Roommates or Partners Who Smoke
Most people who smoke know it is bad for their oral health as well as their overall health. People who live with smokers may not realize how much second-hand smoke harms their health, including their oral health.
While many studies have been performed that show how second-hand smoke affects the health of lungs and general health of people exposed to it, few have studies the link between second-hand smoke and oral health – until now.
A recent study was performed on people who live with or are frequently around smokers. They used a blood test to determine that these people had a nicotine metabolite in their bloodstream that was high enough to prove they had been exposed to smoke, but not high enough that they were determined to likely be smokers themselves.
Among the group of people who were determined to be victims of second-hand smoke, gum disease was much more prevalent than a comparable group of people not exposed to second-hand smoke regularly.
This gives you yet another reason to make it a point to not let smokers expose you to the product of their bad habit, especially if you live with a smoker. While you can't force anyone to stop smoking, you can tell them to go outside when they smoke and not do it in the house where you will be exposed to it. Your gums will thank you.
2. Fluoride-removing Water Filters
When you move into a home that is already inhabited by roommates or a partner, you may not think to ask if the home has water filters already in place. These filters are not always obvious, as some treat water before it even comes into the home in a place that you may not look often.
If you have been getting more cavities since you moved into your new home, make sure to ask your new roommates, partner, or landlord if there is a fluoride-removing water filter in place in the home.
Drinking fluoridated water is important for people who are cavity-prone. If you find out there is a system in place, you can speak to your dentist to see if taking a special prescription fluoride supplement designed for people who don't drink enough fluoridated water is right for you.
3. New Temptations Lurking Around
One more obvious thing that could be the cause of your oral health decline since moving in with a new person or people is their sweet tooth rubbing off on you. If you are a lover of sugary sweets, then you may have made sure to keep them out of the house when living alone to eliminate temptation.
It can be much more difficult to stick to your resolutions to keep candy and sweets off your daily menu when living with someone who eats them in front of you or even keeps candy dishes around the house. They may even offer some to you with good intentions while not realizing their kind gesture is sabotaging your teeth.
The best way to avoid temptation when a roommate is constantly eating sweets is to simply go to another room while they are snacking. If you want your roommate to stop offering you treats, then simply tell them nicely that you like to stay away from eating sugary treats too often. Most people understand that everyone has different dietary preferences and goals and won't keep offering something they know you are trying to avoid eating.
If you recently moved in with a new roommate or partner, and your dental health has taken a turn for the worse, then be aware of these aspects of your environment that could be to blame. You can then take steps to get the problem under control and, with the help of your dentist, help yourself have healthy teeth again. For more information, contact a local general or family dentistry clinic.