It is essential to understand how your oral health impacts your overall health. Studies suggest that if you neglect your oral hygiene, you should be concerned about more than just cavities. Take a moment to understand and it will inspire you to protect your oral health and brush and floss regularly.
Your dental health is the first step to overall health.
Imagine your mouth is the entrance to a fortress. Every day as you eat and breathe through your mouth, it fights a battle. Bacteria are constantly entering your mouth and it is your mouth's job to protect you from infection.
Your body deploys resources to keep bacteria in check. First, your immune system uses white blood cells to fight bacteria in the mouth and throat. Next, Saliva washes away food which could get stuck and decay. It can also fight the acid produced by bacteria to make your mouth a bad environment for bacteria to grow. However, the most important fighter is you! You brush and floss away food and plaque so there is nowhere for bad bacteria to grow. Each piece of oral hygiene plays an essential role in the fight against infection.
Protect your dental health.
Several things can weaken your oral health. Diseases already affecting your body can cause your immune system to be weak. Also, some medications can reduce your saliva flow like antidepressants, antihistamines, diuretics, and painkillers. Stress or carelessness can make your oral hygiene routine sloppy which leads to a buildup of plaque.
When bad bacteria take hold in your mouth, the rest of your body is affected. Bacteria enter your bloodstream and your airways and begin to take root in almost all body systems. Scientists have linked gum disease to heart disease, respiratory infections, diabetes, osteoporosis, rheumatoid arthritis, stroke, birth complications, kidney disease, and dementia.
How can I do my part in oral hygiene?
- Brush at least twice a day
- Use fluoride toothpaste and mouth rinse
- Floss at least once a day
- Regular visits to the dentist and hygienist
- Eat healthy foods, avoiding sugars and frequent snacking
- Replace your toothbrush every three months, sooner if bristles fray
- Avoid tobacco use
- Stay hydrated
- Keep your dentist informed of any health or medication changes