How Important A Healthy Mouth Is To Your Wellbeing
The health of your mouth speaks volumes to your overall health. Research has shown a correlation between dental health and a variety of health concerns, such as heart problems, infection, and digestive disorders. According to the Academy of General Dentistry, more than 90 percent of all systemic diseases produce oral signs and symptoms. Your dentist may be the first medical professional to notice signs and symptoms of a bigger issue.
The Heart-Health Connection. Inflammation of the gums due to bacteria, or gingivitis, has been linked to clogged arteries and blood clots. These bacteria can not only cause inflammation of the mouth but arteries as well, possibly leading to a heart attack or stroke. Gum disease can result in tooth loss which has been proven to contribute to plaque in the carotid artery.
Good Digestion Begins with the Mouth. Saliva is critical for breaking down food, and if enough saliva is not being produced, food can be hard to swallow and digest. Staying well-hydrated and eating lots of fiber-rich foods, such as crunchy fruits and veggies, ramps up saliva production and aids good digestion.
Infection and Inflammation. Bacteria that has built up around teeth and gums can lead to inflammation and infection in the mouth. When an oral infection occurs, the body signals an immune response. This response can weaken the immune system as a whole, causing other medical issues to worsen. Inflammation and infection in the mouth can be easily avoided with thorough and consistent brushing habits.
Taking care of your mouth is in itself important, but the corresponding health issues make caring for your teeth and gums on a daily basis even more important. Dentists recommend incorporating the following habits into your preventative care routine:
Don’t Skimp on Flossing. Face it: We’ve all skimped on flossing at some point or another. Failing to floss can cause bacteria to build up in between the teeth, increasing your risk for gum disease. As we’ve discussed, gum disease can cause many other health complications. Flossing twice a day to remove harmful bacteria significantly reduces your risk of developing health problems caused by gum disease.
Brush Efficiently Twice a Day. When you brush, make sure you use good technique and brush for a full two minutes twice a day. Make sure you brush in a gentle, circular motion on all surfaces of the teeth, including the backs of the teeth and around the gums. See our post “Are You Brushing Correctly?” for more information.
Eat Well, Be Well. A diet full of whole, fresh foods benefits your entire body, and that includes your mouth! Foods like fruits, vegetables, and nuts are excellent sources of vitamins and minerals that keep teeth and gums strong and healthy. These foods are also high in fiber, which helps naturally clean the teeth and increase saliva production. For more information on eating for your oral health see our post “Top 10 Healthy Foods for Oral Health.”
Frequent Visits. It’s recommended you go to the dentist every six months for a cleaning and check-up. By scheduling an appointment twice a year, you and your dentist can keep an eye on your oral health and watch for any signs that may indicate other health issues.