Good oral hygiene is not just about the health of your mouth, it’s also about your overall health. Not brushing and flossing daily can lead to high levels of bacteria in your mouth, which in turn can lead to tooth decay and gum disease. Studies have shown that people with unhealthy mouths, especially those with gum disease, are at a greater risk for more serious problems such as heart attack, stroke, and poorly-controlled diabetes. Keep on reading to learn more about the benefits of good oral hygiene.
What Is Tooth Decay?
Tooth decay is the softening of the enamel that can result in a cavity or a pit in your tooth. When you have a cavity, you may experience pain when you bite or feel pain or sensitivity in your tooth. If you have poor oral hygiene, it can result in more costly dental issues like fillings and crowns, as well as complications including root canals, oral surgery or even dental implants.
Additionally, did you know that bacteria form plaque in your mouth 20 minutes after you eat? That’s right. When you consume carbohydrates and sugary, sticky foods and drinks, they typically get confined in between your teeth, prone to become bacteria. That’s why it’s important to brush and floss right after eating – to prevent bacteria from these carbohydrates from forming into plaque.
Check-ups & Cleanings
Besides brushing and flossing twice a day, regular check-ups and dental cleanings are crucial for the prevention of dental issues and the detection of certain mouth diseases. If you skip these appointments and you have dental problems, they won’t be identified or treated early, leaving you with even worse problems and more costly bills. These appointments also allow you to update any changes in your medications or general health status to your dental professional, so they’re aware of any contributing factors to your oral health.
Tips on Following a Good Dental Routine
At your exam and cleaning, your dental professionals may recommend which toothbrush is best for you, in addition to a water pick, dental floss or oral rinse. They may also suggest other ways to achieve your optimal oral health including:
- Limiting soda, caffeine, and alcohol – This helps avoid high levels of phosphorous, which depletes good-for-your-bones calcium
- Drinking tap water – Most bottled waters don’t contain fluoride while most tap waters do
- Not going overboard with a low-carb diet – Low-carb diets cause bad breath, so opt for a more balanced diet
- Taking in more calcium – We start losing bone mass by the time we’re 20, so restore your calcium loss by eating calcium-rich leafy vegetables or adding a daily supplement
- Up your Vitamin C and D – Both these vitamins are good for fighting gum disease and maintaining good dental health
- Stop smoking – Nothing ages a mouth faster than smoking. Kick the habit and start enjoying a healthier life and smile