How Important is your Dental Health?
Did you know that your oral health plays a vital role in your overall wellbeing? Or that having poor oral health can lead to major health concerns and even disease?!
The mouth is a cornucopia of bacteria!
The bacteria that live in the mouth are mostly harmless if you maintain good oral hygiene by:
- Flossing regularly (Once a day is highly recommended, and before brushing!)
- Brushing your teeth twice a day with fluoride toothpaste.
- Maintaining regular 6 monthly dental visits.
- Maintaining a healthy diet - reducing sugar intake, which feeds the bacteria.
However, if you do not maintain a good oral hygiene regimen, the nasty bacteria (commonly known as dental plaque) can begin to invade the mouth. This bacteria begins to eat away at your enamel, causing bad breath and eventually leads to more significant concerns such as dental decay and gingivitis and can even lead to periodontal disease (gum disease)
Risks of Poor Oral Hygiene
When damage is done to the enamel by bacteria in the mouth. When decay starts to form, if left untreated, it will worsen over time and spread throughout the enamel and into the tooth. Eventually, this will cause severe pain and an infection of the pulp (nerve). Not to mention once this occurs, treatment to fix this can be expensive; otherwise, it is goodbye tooth!
A mild infection of the gum can cause bad breath and the gums to be swollen, painful and bleed. If left untreated can develop into periodontal disease or periodontitis.
What is periodontal disease?
Periodontal disease or periodontitis is an infection of the gums. The gums play an essential role in supporting our teeth in the mouth. This causes the gums to separate from around the tooth, causing the gums to be painful, bleed and even allowing the bacteria to seep in and eat away at the bone supporting our teeth. This can lead to bone loss and tooth mobility.
It does not end there; this can lead to more serious health problems!
These infections can spread to other body parts through the bloodstream and even reach your heart! This can increase the chances of chronic diseases such as heart disease and your risk of developing diabetes. The mouth is also the entrance to the pathway of our lungs, respiratory system, and our digestive system. We do not want these nasty bacteria spreading throughout the body and causing further health concerns.
Avoiding this can be as simple as some minor changes to our daily routine.
Establish a good oral hygiene regimen and make that dental appointment you may have postponed. The dentist can provide great tips and tricks for maintaining good oral health, improving overall health, and reducing the risk of disease and infection.
Tips and Tricks to maintaining excellent oral hygiene:
Floss prior to brushing
Flossing before you brush is a little trick most people aren't aware of! By doing this, you not only remove the food and bacteria stuck between your teeth but also allow the spaces between your teeth to be open for the fluoride from your toothpaste to seep in. Fluoride helps keep our enamel strong and healthy.
Aim to do this once a day at nighttime.
Brush 2x2 (twice a day for two minutes)
Aim to brush your teeth twice a day for at least two minutes. We can become very busy in our day-to-day lifestyles but ensuring the bacteria is cleaned away at least daily will significantly decrease your risk of decay and infections. Be sure to use a soft-bristled toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste. Bonus tip: when brushing at night, spit out the excess toothpaste and avoid rinsing. This allows longer for the fluoride to strengthen the teeth.
Regular visits to the dentist
One of the most important steps is to maintain regular 6 monthly visits to the dentist for a check-up and scale clean. A scale clean removes tartar (also known as calculus built up on the tooth surface, which we cannot do within our daily oral hygiene regimen. Everyone experiences this regardless of how well they maintain their oral hygiene.
Regular checkups can help to identify and target problems before they worsen.
Things to avoid
Avoid a highly acidic or sugary diet. It is highly recommended to rinse your mouth with water after consuming sugar to reduce the amount of sugar lingering in your mouth and on the surface of your teeth, which feeds the bacteria.
Avoid brushing your teeth within 30 minutes of consuming acidic food or drinks (Some fruits are highly acidic, such as lemon, orange, tomato etc). Acid changes the pH levels in our mouth and causes the enamel to soften. Brushing soft enamel can cause damage to the enamel.