Oral Hygiene & Overall Health
We’ve all been lectured about the importance of regular brushing and flossing since we believed in the Tooth Fairy. Cavities, tooth decay and gum disease were some of the horror stories told to us as kids, especially when we were holding a bage of Halloween candy. But without mom and dad consistently taking you in to the dentist for cleanings or standing behind you in the bathroom with a timer, how often do you prioritize your dental health? If you’re like most, after a long day at the office, falling into bed is much more appealing than brushing or flossing, or you find visiting the dentist unnecessary altogether if you don’t have a toothache.
Ignoring basic oral hygiene regularly is a dangerous habit, that not only could bring about the very real and painful reality of tooth loss and gum disease, but could also have negative impacts on your overall health.
Most notably, researchers have found correlations between poor oral hygiene and heart and lung health. Conditions such as cardiovascular disease and endocarditis are often found in patients with gum disease or poor hygiene in general. The exact cause of this link is still unclear; results aren’t conclusive about which causes the other, or if the relation is coincidental, but doctors have theorized that the bacteria and germs from an infected or inflamed mouth enter the bloodstream and ultimately end up hardening the arteries. This causes plaque to develop and build up, creating dangerous blockages and increasing one’s risk of heart attack and stroke. Endocarditis, which is an infection of the heart’s inner lining, is similarly linked to bacteria in the mouth getting into the bloodstream and attaching to damaged areas of the heart. In the same way bacteria in your mouth can reach your heart, it also has potential to infect or inflame your lungs causing respiratory infections like pneumonia.
It’s important to keep to a regular hygiene routine for both oral and overall health, even when life is hectic and it may seem reasonable to cut corners. Here are some recommendations from our team at Lifetime Dental USA to maintain a lifetime of oral health:
- Brush twice a day for at least two minutes with a soft bristles toothbrush to avoid damage to gums and enamel.
- Floss daily (for tight-fitted teeth, using waxed floss will help get the floss into those small spaces; for wider spaced teeth, use tape-style or non-wax floss).
- Maintain a healthy diet, limiting sugary food and drinks.
- Use toothpaste and mouthwash that contain fluoride.
- Visit Lifetime Dental USA every six months for a cleaning and check-up to ensure excellent oral health!