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Brushing Up on Benefits: Why Oral Hygiene is More Important Than You Think

Taking care of your teeth and gums is crucial for maintaining a healthy and beautiful smile. Get the basic tips of taking care of your oral hygiene here.
April 22, 2024    |    34 Views
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Did you know that the health of your mouth can impact your overall well-being in ways you might not have imagined? From preventing embarrassing bad breath to averting serious health conditions, maintaining good oral hygiene is far more than just having a bright smile. Neglecting oral care can lead to various diseases that can damage our teeth and gums. Additionally, most oral diseases share common risk factors with non-communicable diseases such as cancer, cardiovascular diseases, chronic respiratory diseases, and diabetes. Surprising findings, isn’t it? 

In this article, we’ll start with the basics: the essential tips for nurturing a healthy mouth, and explore how neglecting oral hygiene creates an environment for problems that can impact not just your mouth, but your entire body.

Understanding Oral Hygiene

Neglecting oral care creates an environment for harmful bacteria to thrive. When you don’t brush and floss regularly, food particles and bacteria build up in your mouth. This bacteria forms plaque, a sticky film that clings to teeth. The bacteria in plaque produce acids that erode tooth enamel, leading to cavities and gum disease.

Inflammation in the mouth can be linked to inflammation throughout the body. Gum disease, a common result of poor oral care, involves chronic inflammation of the gums. This inflammation can potentially increase the risk of other chronic inflammatory diseases elsewhere in the body, like heart disease, diabetes, and even some cancers.  

Some studies even showed a link between poor dental hygiene and gum and teeth infections, suggesting a connection between oral infections, such as periodontitis (one type of gum disease), with gastrointestinal inflammation. Left untreated, gum disease can lead to chronic inflammation and even bone loss, potentially affecting your overall health.

Fortunately, incorporating a healthy diet and good oral hygiene practices can significantly reduce the risk of these issues. Incorporating oral hygiene into your daily routine can be achieved through several methods, such as setting reminders, keeping dental supplies handy, making it a fun activity, and involving family members in the process. A comprehensive oral hygiene routine should include vital components such as:

  1. Teeth brushing
    • Tools: it is recommended to use a toothbrush with soft bristles and toothpaste containing fluoride.

    • Frequency: brushing teeth at least twice daily is crucial for good oral health. Ideally, brushing after meals and before bedtime is recommended.

    • Technique: to properly clean all surfaces of the teeth, including the fronts, backs, and chewing surfaces, it is best to use gentle circular motions while brushing.

       

  1. Regular flossing
    • Purpose: to get rid of food particles and plaque from areas that your toothbrush cannot reach.

       

    • Frequency: it is recommended to floss at least once a day, ideally before brushing your teeth at night.

       

    • Technique: gently slide the floss between your teeth and curve it around each tooth in a C-shape to clean the sides.

  1. Mouthwash rinsing


    Mouthwash serves three purposes: 

    • reduces mouth acidity,

    • cleans hard-to-reach areas,

    • remineralizes teeth.

    However, it should not replace brushing and flossing.

  1. Healthy & balanced diet.
    • Limit sugary foods: it is advisable to limit the intake of sugary and acidic foods and drinks as they can cause cavities, tooth decay, and enamel erosion. Rinse your mouth with water or brush after consuming them to reduce their effects on your teeth.

       

    • Eat calcium-rich foods: take plenty of fiber-rich fruits and vegetables as well as dairy products without added sugar for strong teeth and bones.

       

    • Drink more plain water: throughout the day, drink water to keep your mouth moist, and wash away food particles and bacteria.

       

 

  1. Regular dental check-up.
    • Schedule dental visits: as a rule, it’s recommended to visit your dentist every six months for check-ups and professional cleanings.

    • Early detection: is a key to maintaining optimal oral health. These routine visits can help to detect any potential issues early on before they become more serious problems.

       

  1. Avoid tobacco products: 
    • Tobacco consumption, be it smoking or chewing, has numerous adverse effects on oral health. When you smoke or chew tobacco, it increases the risk of gum disease, which can cause tooth loss and other dental problems like bad breath and tooth discoloration. Furthermore, tobacco use is a leading cause of oral cancer, which can be fatal if not detected early. Therefore, it is highly recommended to either quit or avoid these products to benefit your oral health and overall well-being.

Why is Oral Health Important?

Dental health and oral hygiene play an important role in overall bodily health and should be taken seriously by individuals of all ages. Here are some reasons why it is essential and significant to maintain oral hygiene:

  • Prevention of dental issues such as cavities, gum disease, and tooth decay.

  • Proper oral hygiene can prevent bad breath, which is embarrassing. A healthy smile and fresh breath can boost confidence and social success.

  • Tooth loss prevention. Keeping natural teeth not only enhances oral health but also helps avoid expensive and, in some cases, uncomfortable treatments.

  • Poor oral hygiene has been linked to various health problems and maintaining good oral health can lead to better overall health outcomes.

Conclusion

Remember, a healthy mouth is a gateway to a healthy body. By incorporating these simple oral hygiene practices into your daily routine, you can prevent a multitude of health issues and smile with confidence, knowing you’re taking care of yourself from the inside out. Taking charge of your oral health is an investment in your overall well-being. Schedule your next dental visit and start your journey to a healthier you, one brush stroke at a time.

References

Alyssa. (2020, December 29). Why Dental Hygiene is Important. Bethesda Family Dentistry. https://bethesdafamilydentistry.com/why-dental-hygiene-is-important/

Cherney, K. (n.d.). 11 Ways to Keep Your Teeth Healthy. Healthline. https://www.healthline.com/health/dental-and-oral-health/best-practices-for-healthy-teeth

Cherry‐Peppers, G., Fryer, C. D., Jackson, A., Ford, D. H., Glascoe, A., Smith, D., Dunmore-Griffith, J., Iris, M., Woods, D., Robinson‐Warner, G., Davidson, A., McIntosh, C., Sonnier, J., Slade, L., Downer, G., Mundey, S., Darden-Wilson, J., Dawson, N. A., Downes, A., . . . Watkins-Bryant, T. (2024). A review of the risks and relationships between oral health and chronic diseases. Journal of the National Medical Association. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jnma.2024.01.003\\

Oral health: A window to your overall health. (n.d.). Mayo Clinic. https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/adult-health/in-depth/dental/art-20047475

Sakra world hospital. (n.d.). Sakra world hospital. Sakra World Hospital. https://www.sakraworldhospital.com/blogs/importance-of-oral-hygiene-a-comprehensive-overview/314

Website, N. (n.d.). Take care of your teeth and gums. nhs.uk. https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/healthy-teeth-and-gums/take-care-of-your-teeth-and-gums/

Xanthopoulos, J. (2022, August 21). Can rotting teeth cause stomach problems? | Kew Dentistry. Kew Dentistry. https://kewdentistry.com.au/can-rotting-teeth-cause-stomach-problems/