Can Proper Dental Hygiene Improve Overall Health?
Good health doesn’t just mean a healthy diet, regular exercise, and quality sleep. Being in good health involves all aspects of your well-being. Your total health is comprised of several areas of wellness including emotional, physical, and environmental.
With this in mind, it’s no surprise that even dental health can have an impact on the quality of your wellness. Unfortunately, oral health is often be overlooked by many patients despite the impact it can have on the quality of your life.
For example, are you brushing and flossing as frequently as you should? Slacking on a consistent, thorough oral hygiene routine isn’t just disastrous for the health of your smile, it can also negatively influence the condition of your body for a lifetime.
In celebration of National Dental Hygiene Month, Dr. Mark Tall and his talented staff here at Sandcreek Dental would like to emphasize the importance of basic oral hygiene and explain how this can even improve your overall health.
The Relationship Between Oral Health and Overall Wellness
Think of the mouth as the gateway to the rest of your bodily health. Poor oral care affects more than just the appearance of your smile; the consequences of poor dental health can reach well beyond the mouth to other areas of your body.
In fact, oral health has been linked to various health conditions and complications. Some of the major problems that are linked with poor oral health include:
Cardiovascular Disease: Most people are surprised to find out that their heart health can be linked to dental health. Although the precise relationship isn’t understood, researchers believe that gum disease is a significant risk factor for heart attacks because of its connection to chronic inflammation. The bacteria that cause gum inflammation can enter the bloodstream and attach to deposits in the blood vessel, which leads to blood clots and heart attack.
It’s also important to note that the two conditions are related because they share additional risks. Factors such as smoking, age, and diabetes can all contribute to the development of both cardiovascular disease and gum disease.
Stroke: The risk of stroke is tied to poor oral health in the same way that cardiovascular disease is. Chronic inflammation can also have an effect on the blood vessels and blood supply to the brain, causing a stroke. According to the American Academy of Periodontology, a study found that subjects with acute cerebrovascular ischemia (poor oxygen supply to the brain) were more likely to have infections of the mouth than those without the condition.
Dementia: As with the case of stroke and heart disease, bacteria entering the bloodstream and make its way to all areas of the body. According to a study from the University of Central Lancashire School of Medicine and Dentistry, researchers examined brain tissue samples from 10 healthy patients and 10 patients with dementia. They found that the gum disease bacteria, lipopolysaccharides, was present in four of the samples with dementia and was not present in any healthy samples.
Researchers believe that dementia is related to oral health because when the bacteria reaches the brain, the immune system responds by killing brain cells, thus leading to dramatic changes in the brain that can lead to cognitive dysfunction.
Tips to Improve Oral Hygiene
While there are plenty of reasons your oral health may be less than perfect, poor oral hygiene is the root of many dental problems. Some of the best tips to improve your oral hygiene include:
Brushing For Two Minutes: Doing a quick brush of your teeth won’t do enough to remove excess bacteria and plaque. Dental professionals recommend brushing for at least two minutes to properly clean your teeth. If you have a hard time brushing for the recommended amount of time, keep an eye on the clock or use a timer on your phone. There are even some apps available on smartphones that will track the time to ensure you brush your teeth for the full two minutes.
Brush With The Proper Motion and Pressure: Using a back-and-forth motion or too much pressure can actually harm your oral health because it can wear at your tooth enamel. Instead, use gentle circular motions to effectively brush away plaque.
Floss Each Day: Flossing can often be an overlooked aspect of oral hygiene. It’s important to floss each day because plaque and bacteria can easily hide away in hard-to-reach areas - between the teeth and gumline.
Visit The Dentist Regularly: Going to the dentist every six months is an important component to great oral health. At your appointments, you won’t just have a thorough cleaning; your dentist will also be able to spot any early signs of trouble. This will spare patients the pain and expense of severe dental problems.
Contact Sandcreek Dental
Improving your overall wellness and dental health can be as simple as prioritizing your oral hygiene routine. Making a few changes with your brushing or flossing techniques can make all the difference for the health of your smile.
In other instances, you may need the help of a dental professional. Especially if you have more specific dental concerns, like missing teeth or recurrent toothaches. We offer a range of services including general dentistry, cosmetic dentistry, and restorative dentistry to best take care of your oral health. To find out more about our services, contact our office to schedule your appointment today.