An increasing number of studies have established a correlation between oral health, hygiene, and overall health. Most concerning, is findings that gum disease increases the chance of having heart disease, dementia, and diabetes. In addition, adults with gum disease are also four times as likely to have a stroke.
Paired with the fact that half of the adults in the United States has means, one of every two people is at heightened risk for heart disease, dementia, and diabetes.
Oral Health and Overall Health
Like several areas of the body, the mouth contains harmless bacteria. Good oral health care like daily flossing and brushing, and the body's natural defense system, can help keep these germs under control.
Without brushing, flossing, and visiting the dentist, bacteria can easily multiply and cause infections in the mouth. These include gum problems, tooth decay, and loosing teeth.
Medications can also reduce the amount of saliva in your mouth, causing dry mouth. Saliva is important because it washes away bits of food and dilutes the acid produced by bacteria in the mouth.
Taking a Closer Look at Health Conditions
Oral health affects different conditions and diseases, like:
- Cardiovascular disease. Some studies suggest that stroke, clogged arteries, and heart disease are associated with infections and inflammation that oral bacteria may cause.
- Endocarditis is an infection of the heart's inner lining. Endocarditis usually occurs when germs or bacteria from other areas of the body flow through the bloodstream and stick to your heart.
- Conception and birth. Periodontitis has connections with low birth weights and premature birth.
- Osteoporosis causes bones to become brittle, possibly including jaw and tooth bones as well.
- Diabetes. Diabetes lowers resistance to certain infections, putting the gums at greater risk. Furthermore, gum problems seem to be more common and severe among people with diabetes. Studies reveal that people suffering from gum problems have more difficulty controlling their blood glucose levels.
This Can Happen if You Have Poor Dental Health
Both children and adults can develop cavities, gum disease, and other problems. When plaque accumulates under and along the gum line, infections can emerge. Infections can harm the bone, causing teeth to become loose. This affects eating and your smile. If you loose too many teeth, the shape of your face can change.
In addition, poor dental health can cause bits of food to stay stuck between your teeth. These bits of food will start to break down and cause your breath to smell.
Here are 10 easy ways to take care of your teeth:
#1 Brush thoroughly for 2 minutes twice a day
Brushing is similar, whether using an electric toothbrush or a regular one.
Tilt the toothbrush 45 degrees in relation to the gums and use circular motions. Brushing at this angle helps remove plaque along the gum line. .
Instead of brushing hard and fast, brush gently for two minutes. You can keep track of the time by listening to music or setting a timer; many times, people are surprised by how short they brush their teeth.
Also, brushing longer than two minutes can do your teeth more harm than good, as prolonged brushing can cause the wear of the gums' enamel and soreness.
#2 Learn Floss Properly
We know flossing can sometimes be a hassle, but, like brushing, it is essential in maintaining our oral health. We can rid our mouth of stubborn food particles or plaque that may have stuck between our teeth or unreachable by our toothbrush through flossing.
To floss using the traditional string floss, here are what you need to do:
- Wind 18 to 20 inches of string around each hand's middle finger.
- Use your index fingers and thumbs to press the string lightly. Make sure to leave one to two inches in between.
- With your thumbs, direct the string as you floss.
- For between contacts of the lower teeth, guide the string using your index finger.
- Glide the string in zigzag motion between the teeth, binding it around the side of each tooth.
- Gently move the string up and down against the surface of each tooth and below the gum line.
- Remember to use the clean section of the string for every tooth so as not to transfer bacteria.
#3 Rinse Using Mouthwash
- Mouthwash can help prevent bad breath.
- If you have gingivitis, rinsing with mouthwash can reduce plaque due to antimicrobial ingredients.
- The fluoride ions in mouthwash can remineralize the teeth and decrease the risk of tooth decay.
- Ingredients like carbamide peroxide can lessen stains and help your teeth appear whiter.
#4 Clean Your Tongue
Cleaning your tongue daily is important, as most bacteria in your mouth are on your tongue.
There are many ways to clean your tongue, including your toothbrush, a specialized toothbrush, and a tongue scraper.
- Using your toothbrush: With a dab of toothpaste, gently brush the tongue's surface with a soft-bristled toothbrush, beginning from the back of the tongue and moving toward the opening of the mouth. Rinse with water.
- Using a specialized toothbrush: Some toothbrushes have a built-in tongue scraper that you can use to clean the tongue.
- Using a tongue scraper: Made of soft, flexible plastic, a tongue scraper is the most effective way of cleaning your tongues. Like brushing, start from the back, work towards the mouth's opening, then rinse.
#5 Clean Your Toothbrush And Tongue Scraper
Keep your toothbrush and tongue scraper clean. After using your toothbrush, give it a good rinse. Avoid creating an environment where your toothbrush is full of bacteria. Also, the American Dental Association recommends letting your toothbrush air dry instead of keeping it in a container. Also, wash your tongue scraper with warm water after using it.
#6 Change Your Toothbrush
Toothbrushes wear out! Change your toothbrush every six months. An easy way to remember is to replace it every time your teeth are cleaned. Your are going to the dentist every six months, right?
#7 Limit Your Sugar Intake And Eat Healthily
Bacteria love sugar. Too much sugar can eat away at your teeth enamel and lead to tooth decay. Instead of sugary treats, snack on healthy alternatives like celery, carrot, apple, leafy vegetables, milk (how much calcium do you need?), cheese, yogurt, cashew, sesame seeds, broccoli, and other foods saliva production and contain antioxidants and vitamins.
#8 Stay Hydrated
Water is essential in keeping our mouth healthy because it washes away food particles, rinses out bacteria, and moistens the mouth to prevent dry mouth that can cause bad breath and other dental problems due to the limited supply of saliva.
#9 Say No To Smoking and Vaping
Smoking and vaping is terrible for the body and can trigger diseases, including cancer. Smoking can also weaken the immune system and increase the risk of illnesses, including gum diseases and tooth decay.
#10 Visit Your Dentist
Visiting the dentist every six month is key to preventing painful and costly dental emergencies. It can also catch oral cancer in its early stages and help decrease the risk for heart disease, dementia, and diabetes.