Good dental hygiene is great for your overall health, it can help prevent gum disease, tooth decay, bad health, and prolong the lifespan of your teeth as you get older.
Did you know that good oral health can help you ward off some medical conditions? This simply means that bad oral health, particularly gum disease, can increase your risk of serious medical conditions like preterm labor, diabetes, heart attack, and stroke.
What is oral health?
Oral health, in simple terms, refers to the holistic health status of your mouth. Oral health examinations often involve the testing and examination of the gums and teeth for signs of bleeding and gum disease. The gums are checked for quality of gum tissue, pus, and the health of the areas below the margin of the gum is also examined.
In addition, the teeth in the mouth are examined for areas of wear, decay, missing teeth, defective fillings, discoloration, crowns, and other restorations. Plaque accumulation and oral hygiene are also evaluated.
Oral mucosa is examined for changes in color, sores, irregularities, and lumps. If everything is in normal shape it means excellent dental health. When there are issues, treatment may be needed because dental health is not perfect.
What is the importance of good oral hygiene?
Good oral hygiene will help prevent dental health issues such as tooth loss, tooth decay, periodontitis, cavities, and gingivitis. This is why cleaning your teeth correctly and regularly is important so that these problems are prevented.
You put yourself at risk of tooth decay when you do not clean your teeth every day. Some of the early symptoms of decay include pain in your teeth or feeling of sensitivity and pain when you bite. In addition, if the carbohydrates in drinks and food consumed aren’t cleaned from the teeth regularly, they fuel the growth of cavity-causing bacteria (these bacteria form plaque on the teeth in about 20 minutes after eating). If you frequently snack, cleaning your teeth more than twice a day is good practice.
Even though the bacteria in the mouth cannot be completely eradicated, reducing the intake of sugary food and frequent cleaning of the teeth can help keep your dental health in good condition. Regularly cleaning your teeth also prevents cavity-causing bacteria from causing gum disease and progressing to gingivitis.
Wouldn’t you rather avoid the costly bills that come with crowns or fillings and complex procedures like having damaged teeth extracted and dental implant placement that may be needed when you develop gum disease as a result of poor oral hygiene?
What are the medical conditions that have been linked to poor oral hygiene?
Poor oral health has been linked to various conditions and disease, some of which include:
- Pneumonia: some of the bacteria in your mouth can find their way into your lungs and cause pneumonia and other respiratory illnesses.
- Birth and pregnancy complications: periodontitis has been linked to low birth weight and premature births.
- Cardiovascular diseases: research into this is not conclusive but some studies suggest stroke, heart disease, and clogged arteries could be linked to the infections and inflammation that oral bacteria cause.
4.Endocarditis: This is an infection that affects the inner lining of your heart valves (endocardium) and chambers and usually occurs when germs or bacteria from other parts of your body like your mouth get passed through your bloodstream and attaches to the inner lining of your heart chambers.
How to protect your oral health
Protecting your dental health requires practising good daily oral hygiene. It is important that you get the help of a dentist as soon as any dental health issues arise because oral health is an investment in your overall health. In addition, do the following:
- Brush your teeth at least twice a day using a soft-bristled brush and fluoride toothpaste.
- Floss your teeth daily
- Use mouthwash to remove food particles left after flossing and brushing
- Reduce the intake of sugary food and eat a healthy diet.
- Replace toothbrushes every three months or sooner if brush bristles are worn.
- Avoid the use of tobacco.
- Schedule regular dental cleanings and checkups.
Dental cleaning is a service that a dental hygienist conducts to remove tartar and plaque from gums and to prevent common oral conditions like gingivitis and gum disease – and also polish the teeth.