We all know how important it is to maintain dental hygiene. For most of us, it was one of the first things we were taught when we were little kids – how to brush our teeth. As it turns out though, it may be much more important that we initially though as it relates to the overall health of your body. It also takes a little bit more than simply brushing your teeth every morning, and every evening.
Numerous studies have shown that poor dental hygiene is actually linked to a number of disorders that aren’t even directly related to your mouth including heart attack, stroke, diabetes, and even systemic inflammation. This makes it critical that you take care of your teeth in gums in the best possible ways.
How to Recognize Poor Dental Health
A “healthy smile” these days means much more than having white teeth and straight teeth. It also means that your oral flora is balanced, and that your gums are healthy and strong.
A first indication that your dental health is not as good as it should be is if you suffer from bleeding and swollen gums. This could be an indication of gingivitis which results from plaque build-up around the gum line and allows bacteria to flourish.
When this gets to its further stages, it could result in bacteria getting in-between the gums and the teeth into the oral cavity, and eventually entering the bloodstream. This could contribute to systemic disease, potentially even provoking arterial blockages and infection, resulting into some of the life-threatening illnesses as described below.
A number of recent studies have shown that poor dental hygiene can result in heart attacks. This is primarily due to the inflammation caused by bad oral hygiene, which can cause arteries to harden around the body, as well as the plaque build-up which can encourage dangerous clotting.
Increased Risk of Stroke
A study by the University of Columbia found that those that have poor oral hygiene are more likely to suffer from stroke. The main bacteria that results in this is Streptocuccus sanguis, which is present in periodontal disease, and can spread to the heart. The more of these bacteria that are present, the thicker your carotid arteries become, making it difficult for your blood to flow to your brain. This can result into stroke.
Poor dental hygiene has also been linked to diabetes for a number of years now. A study conducted by Harvard confirmed this link by during a 12-year follow-up study of 41,000 men that were free of diabetes when the study started, showed that men with periodontal disease had a much higher risk of diabetes. This confirms how important it is to maintain good oral hygiene.
Simple Steps to Maintain Good Oral Hygiene
The above dangers should convince you how important it is to take care of your teeth and gums. It’s not difficult to do, but just takes a little discipline.
- Proper brushing. It’s extremely important to brush properly and position the bristles at an angle of 45 degrees near the gum line for maximum effectiveness. Studies have shown that electric toothbrushes (especially rotating oscillating tootbrushes) can also have a benefit over manual toothbrushes so consider reading some product reviews and buying an electric toothbrush.
- Floss at least once a day. It can help you remove food particles that the toothbrush may not be able to get to. It allows you to get deep between the crevices of your teeth where your toothbrush or mouthwash may not be able to reach.
- Limit sugary beverages. Sugary beverages (such as soda) contain high levels of corn syrup that weakens your teeth and make them look dull and discolored. This can lead into longer term complications so it’s best to limit them.
These simple tips should help you maintain oral hygiene and are a good starting point to help you stay healthy. However, if you have any doubt or concern on your oral hygiene, we always recommend you to a medically qualified professional for a professional opinion.