You know you should take care of your teeth and gums because you only get one set of permanent teeth. However, taking care of your oral health has other benefits as well, and some of them might surprise you.
Studies have shown that poor oral health can affect your overall health. By maintaining excellent oral health habits and proper oral hygiene, you can help avoid more serious health conditions.
What Health Conditions Are You Talking About?
Colgate describes your mouth as a “window into what’s going on in the rest of your body.” What they mean is that when you look into the mouth, you can see some of the early signs and symptoms of other systemic diseases. A systemic disease is a term that describes conditions that affect all of your body, e.g., diabetes osteoporosis, or AIDS.
The Mayo Clinic says that many conditions can be linked to oral health. These conditions include:
- Cardiovascular Disease: The connection between your oral health and heart disease is not completely clear yet, but studies have found that the inflammation and infection that the oral bacteria could be involved in heart disease, clogged arteries, and strokes.
- Endocarditis: Also in the heart, Endocarditis is an infection of the inner lining of your heart chambers and valves. Bacteria that cause the condition comes from other parts of the body, like your mouth, and arrives there via the bloodstream where it attaches to the anatomy in your heart.
- Pneumonia: If the bacteria in your mouth ends up in your lungs, you can end up with pneumonia and other respiratory diseases.
- Premature Birth and Low Birth Weights: Research has linked both of these pregnancy and birth complications to periodontitis, which is a severe form of gum disease.
Sometimes, it is the systemic disease that is causing problems in your mouth. Conditions that might affect your oral health include:
- Alzheimer’s: It is normal to see oral health decline as the disease progresses. Moreover, per Medical News Today, researchers at NYU discovered a link between gum inflammation and the disease.
- Diabetes: Diabetes can affect your oral health in two ways. First, it reduces the body’s resistance to infection, which is not good for your gums. Second, when you have gum disease, it is even more challenging to control your blood sugar. For these reasons, the Mayo Clinic encourages periodontal care to benefit both areas of your health.
HIV/AIDS: People with HIV/AIDS often develop sores in their mouths.
Osteoporosis: The weakening of bones is linked to periodontal bone and tooth loss. Also, drugs used to treat osteoporosis can result in problems with the jawbone.
What Can You Do?
Consistent attention to your oral hygiene is one of the best things you can do to maintain the best possible oral health for yourself. Every day, you should take care of your teeth and gums. Per Healthline.com, this effort involves all of the following:
- Brushing properly for around two minutes, twice a day, to remove food acids and plaque that forms throughout the day. Preferably in the morning and before bedtime.
- Changing your toothbrush every three months to ensure you have good, clean bristles to do the job.
- Using an ADA approved toothpaste with fluoride to protect your enamel.
- Scraping your tongue to remove plaque buildup.
- Flossing at least once a day with string floss; guiding the floss between the teeth and gently wrapping it around the side of the tooth. This removes the plaque and bacteria that can’t reach.
- Swishing with a fluoride mouthwash to clean hard-to-brush areas in and around the gums.
- Drinking more water after meals to help wash away food acids that break down enamel in between brushes.
- Eating fresh fruits and vegetables for beneficial nutrients and to help in keeping your jaws and teeth strong.
- Reducing the sugar-laden and acidic foods you eat. These sugary and acidic foods help bacteria thrive, which could cause tooth decay and other problems in your mouth.
- Seeing the dentists every six months for a checkup and cleaning to stay on top of any developing conditions.
To download the PDF for Proper Brushing from the American Dental Hygienists’ Association’s (ADHA) website, please click here.
To download the PDF for Proper Flossing from the ADHA’s website, please click here.
So, you knew that brushing and flossing are essential to take care of your teeth. Now you know it’s vital for a whole host of other reasons as well! If you have any questions or want to come in for a routine cleaning and checkup, give us a call.
“Oral Health and Overall Health: Why A Healthy Mouth Is Good For Your Body.”colgateprofessional.com. Web. 25 October 2019.
Cherney, Kristeen. “11 Ways to Keep Your Teeth Healthy.” Healthline.com. 13 November 2017. Web. 25 October 2019.
“Oral health: A window to your overall health.” Mayoclinic.org. Web. 25 October 2019.
McNamee, David. “Beyond tooth decay: why good dental hygiene is important.” Medicalnewstoday.com. 8 October 2014. Web. 25 October 2019.