The importance of oral hygiene

Proper oral hygiene is necessary for healthy teeth and gums.  If hygiene habits are poor, it can lead to tooth decay, gum disease, bad breath, and eventually the loss of teeth.  What many don’t know, however, is that not brushing teeth and maintaining a healthy mouth can lead to more serious illnesses over time.

Everyone wants a beautiful smile, with strong, white teeth and fresh breath.  But it turns out that a healthy mouth can also lead to a healthy body.  Studies have shown that women with gum disease are more likely to give birth to pre-term, lower-weight babies, and that people with poor oral hygiene have an increased risk of heart disease.  Problems with chewing have been linked to irritable bowel syndrome and other digestive disorders.

When teeth and gums aren’t healthy, they can bleed; this lets bacteria and other germs inside the mouth enter your bloodstream and spread to other areas in the body.  This process can lead to endocarditis, an infection of the inner lining of the heart, or to cardiovascular disease, where clogged arteries and strokes have been linked to the inflammation and infections that are caused by oral bacteria.

Visiting your dentist regularly, once every six months, makes it possible for any problem areas to be detected and treated before they can impact your overall health.  Your dentist can recommend positive improvements regarding your oral hygiene regimen and oral care techniques between each visit.

Oral health can be impacted by medications taken for other conditions, such as osteoporosis and rheumatoid arthritis.  Make sure your dentist is aware of any medications you take, and whether you have an eating disorder or a chronic condition such as diabetes.  Contact your dentist immediately if you have any problems with your oral health.

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