For many people, it is a rite of passage. They enter adulthood by have their wisdom teeth removed. The procedure is meant to improve the patient's oral health. While it is a good idea for most people to have their wisdom teeth removed, many individuals aren't able to access the procedure due to a lack of dental insurance or money.
This can lead to a range of dental problems. Individuals who have not had their wisdom teeth removed may need to spend extra time on oral hygiene to avoid bacterial infections that could cause gum disease, cavities and bad breath.
In fact, a recent study from the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons (AAOMS) found that having wisdom teeth later in life can increase an individual's risk for many complications. Their findings indicate that wisdom teeth are more difficult to keep clean. This may lead to the proliferation of harmful bacteria.
Additionally, adults who have kept their wisdom teeth reported that it is more expensive to treat and maintain them over the course of their lives than it is to have them extracted. Researchers said that the findings show the importance for individuals who have kept their wisdom teeth of taking extra steps to improve their oral health
"Even if wisdom teeth aren't causing any immediate problems, it's likely that people will face complications down the road," said Louis K. Rafetto, chair of the AAOMS task force that conducted the study. "The fact is, extraction is much easier in young adults and research consistently shows that it is a simple way of improving both dental and overall health."
He recommended that, if extraction is not an option, individuals spend more time brushing, flossing and rinsing their teeth. This may help reduce their chances of experiencing dental complications.
Oral health experts at the Mayo Clinic say that wisdom teeth that erupt can damage other teeth. This leaves them more vulnerable to infection from bacteria. The first signs of this infection are often bad breath caused by the waste product of these microbes. However, the problem can quickly progress to other areas of the mouth.
Individuals who have not had their wisdom teeth removed may benefit from specialty breath freshening products. These toothpastes and mouthwashes may give their oral health the boost it needs to avoid complications.