You know that brushing your teeth and flossing helps keep your gums and teeth clean and healthy. However, you might not know that having healthy teeth and gums plays an important role in your general health and well-being. Poor oral hygiene can increase your risk of having certain health issues at some point in your life. Keep the following in mind to better understand the link between healthy gums and teeth and overall health.
You might not realize that your mouth is directly connected to your digestive and respiratory systems. Poor oral hygiene can lead to problems with these other parts of your body if you’re not careful. Bacteria live in your mouth regularly. Although some bacteria are harmless and even beneficial, not taking care of your oral health can result in complications in other bodily systems. This can lead to poor overall health and severe conditions in some cases.
For example, advanced gum disease or periodontal disease can cause bacteria in your mouth to move to your bloodstream, resulting in an emergency medical condition called sepsis. Taking good care of your teeth and gums helps keep bacteria in check and lowers the risk of developing other problems that affect your health and well-being.
Poor oral hygiene can put you at a higher risk of having certain health conditions. Some of these conditions can be serious and even become life-threatening without proper treatment. Pneumonia is among the illnesses that poor oral health can cause due to your mouth’s connection to your respiratory system. When you don’t take good care of your teeth and gums, you might also have an increased risk of developing heart problems.
Endocarditis and cardiovascular disease are linked to poor oral health. Endocarditis is a life-threatening condition that develops due to heart inflammation. Cardiovascular disease can also be serious and lead to higher risks of heart attacks and other life-threatening conditions. Other health conditions that have been linked to poor oral health include pancreatic cancer and Alzheimer’s disease.
Having healthy gums and teeth means practicing good oral hygiene regularly. Brushing your teeth is one of the most basic ways to keep them clean and healthy. However, how you brush is important. You should brush your teeth gently using a soft-bristled toothbrush rather than one with harsher bristles. When brushing your teeth, you should move the brush around in circular motions instead of scrubbing. This helps clean your teeth while also lowering the risk of damage. You should brush your teeth a minimum of twice a day, especially after eating.
Flossing your teeth is just as important as brushing them regularly. You should floss between your teeth a couple of times a day to dislodge bits of food that can get stuck between them. This helps lower the risk of gum disease and tooth decay. Keep floss with you when you leave your home for the day, so you can easily clean between your teeth after eating.
Drinking water after eating or drinking sugary or acidic beverages can help protect your teeth from harmful bacteria. Water rinses your teeth off, which helps remove sugar and other debris that attract bacteria. This helps keep your tooth enamel, which protects your teeth, in good condition.
Stimulating saliva production in your mouth also helps rinse food debris from your teeth. Chewing sugarless gum, eating cheese, and drinking a lot of water throughout the day can help ensure that your mouth can produce enough saliva to keep your teeth cleaner.
Keep in mind that oral hygiene wouldn’t be complete without routine dental exams and cleanings. You should have these done twice a year to make sure your gums and teeth are as healthy as can be. If you do have tooth decay or any other oral health problems, dentists can catch these early during cleanings and begin treating them right away.
If you need to schedule a dental exam and cleaning to keep your teeth and gums healthy, please contact Cedar Walk Family and Cosmetic Dentistry today. Our dental team can help you maintain good oral health, so you can enjoy good overall health.