Good oral hygiene habits are essential to prevent tooth decay and gum disease. What you might not know is that research has found the health of your mouth actually mirrors the overall condition of your body. According to the Academy of General Dentistry, there is a direct relationship between gum disease and many serious health conditions, including heart disease, stroke, and diabetes. The good news is, research also shows that good oral health may actually help prevent certain diseases from occurring.
Understanding the mouth/body connection
Poor oral habits can cause bacteria to build up on your teeth, making your gums more prone to disease and infection. When that happens, your immune system goes to work attacking the infection, leading to inflammation and gum disease, also known as periodontitis. Left untreated, periodontitis and chronic inflammation can wreak havoc on the rest of your body, leading to a host of health problems. Thankfully, this “worst-case-scenario” is easily preventable. Here’s what you can do to elevate your oral hygiene habits and keep unwanted health concerns at bay:
- Brush twice a day for at least two minutes using a soft-bristled brush. Be sure to choose a toothbrush that is the right size for your mouth so you can reach back teeth easily. If you have any questions about which toothbrush our dentist in 27713 recommends for you, you can ask our office during your appointment.
- Remember to replace your toothbrush every three or four months.
- Choose an American Dental Association-approved fluoride toothpaste to keep teeth free from decay.
- Floss daily to remove tooth decay-causing bacteria that tend to linger between teeth. Regular flossing also helps remove plaque under the gum line and minimize your risk of contracting gum disease.
- Eat a healthy diet that limits sugary beverages and snacks.
- Avoid cigarettes and other tobacco products, which are known to contribute to gum disease and oral cancer.
In addition to maintaining good daily oral health habits, seeing your dentist regularly is one of the best ways to keep your mouth – and your body – healthy. These exams allow our team to monitor any changes to your teeth and gums and make recommendations that will help you avoid future health problems. Call our Durham, NC dental office today to schedule an exam.