The Benefits of Maintaining Good Oral Hygiene

The Benefits of Maintaining Good Oral Hygiene

Jun 01, 2020

Did you know that the mouth is considered to be the window into your general health? Failing to properly care for your teeth not only puts you at risk of oral diseases, but can lead to a range of health problems that extend beyond your mouth. Good oral hygiene is therefore necessary for our well-being. And it begins with simple everyday practices like brushing and flossing, maintaining a healthy diet and going for regular dental appointments.

The obvious benefits of keeping your teeth, mouth and gums clean include;

  • Reduced risk of tooth decay and cavities
  • Less chance of contracting gum diseases like gingivitis and periodontitis
  • Fresh breath
  • Helps preserve the natural tooth so that you don’t have to undergo an extraction or tooth loss which has to be further necessitates for a restorative treatment.
  • You save money that would have otherwise been used in treating preventable diseases.

How Oral Hygiene Impacts Your Overall Health

There is a lot that is put at stake when we fail to properly care for our oral health. We risk developing secondary health complications besides the obvious cavity and gum disease. so, if you have not been paying proper attention to ensuring good dental hygiene, it will help to understand how some health conditions like diabetes and heart disease are affected by the state of your mouth.

  • Oral Health and Heart Disease

It may seem a bit far-fetched but the reality is that your oral health can affect your cardiovascular health too. Although studies are inconclusive, there is indication of a relationship between gum disease and heart conditions like heart attack. Suspicion is that the inflammation in the mouth due to gum disease can cause the blood vessel to become inflamed as well, which increases risk of a heart attack. This is because the inflamed blood vessels constrict blood flow between the heart and other parts of the body, causing your blood pressure to rise. Additionally, if the plaque bacteria gets to the heart or brain, you could suffer a stroke.

  • Oral Health and Pregnancy

Paying extra attention to your oral care during pregnancy is important if you are to birth a healthy child. When you are pregnant, your risk for certain oral problems increases and this can have an effect on your pregnancy. Studies have shown a link between gum disease and premature birth. It is thought that the infection and inflammation as a result of gum disease can interfere with the development of the fetus in the womb causing you to go into pre-term labor or birthing of a low-weight child. For a healthy pregnancy, Dr. Al Gulum recommends that expectant mothers undergo a thorough periodontal exam to evaluate your risk.

  • Oral Health and Type 2 Diabetes

Diabetes is a condition characterized by difficulty of the body to process sugar and convert it to energy, due to the lack of the insulin hormone. The inflammation that comes with oral diseases like periodontitis further complicates the condition by making it difficult for the body to utilize insulin. To make things worse is that the relationship between periodontitis and diabetes is two-way. Diabetes patients are at high risk of gum disease and gum disease can also affect the regulation of blood glucose leading t progression of the illness.

  • Oral Health and Other Illnesses
  • Inflammation from the gums releases some chemicals and when left untreated for a long time, the prolonged exposure to these chemicals cause some parts of the brain to deteriorate leading to Alzheimer’s disease.
  • Bad oral hygiene can make you develop respiratory conditions such as pneumonia and bronchitis, which can be fatal.

Recommendations for Good Oral Hygiene

  • Brush your teeth after every meal or at least twice daily using a fluoride toothpaste.
  • Floss daily. You can also use an anti-bacterial mouthwash to rinse your mouth.
  • Make sure that you are using the correct brushing and flossing technique. You can consult with your dentist on how to go about this.
  • Make a habit of drinking water between meals to was away any food debris remaining in the mouth.
  • Visit your dentist regularly and consider dental professional cleanings.
  • Quit smoking.
  • Avoid sugary, starchy and acidic foods. Also consider using a straw for sugary or acidic foods to minimize contact with the teeth.

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