Caring for your teeth and gums can have a powerful impact on your overall health and well-being. Good oral hygiene can help prevent tooth decay, gum disease, and bad breath. Neglecting your oral health can lead to gum disease, bad breath, and is linked to systemic diseases. Recent research has discovered that poor oral hygiene can lead to a myriad of health problems. Understanding the importance of oral hygiene will help you to remain health conscious, too.
What is Oral Hygiene?
We all want a bright, white, beautiful smile, which is one of the many reasons why maintaining oral health is so important. Oral hygiene is the process of keeping your mouth free and clear of cavities, gingivitis, and any other dental or gum diseases. Maintaining healthy oral hygiene is one of the most important things you can do for your teeth, gums, and overall health. Good oral hygiene results in a healthy mouth that looks beautiful. The signs of a healthy mouth include:
• Teeth are clean and free of debris
• Bad breath is not a problem
• Gums are pink and do not bleed
Why is it Important?
Practicing good oral hygiene habits will improve your overall health. Poor dental habits can lead to infected gums, and infection, resulting in pain and lack of appetite. Our mouths are bacteria ridden, but with proper dental care and our bodies natural defenses, this bacterium is harmless. A sticky layer of this bacteria known as, plaque, forms on your teeth and accumulates in areas that your toothbrush cannot reach. Without good oral hygiene to control bacteria and plaque, it can lead to gum disease, tooth decay, and infection. Medical research has linked these gum diseases and infections with bacterial pneumonias, heart disease, and strokes.
How to Improve Oral Hygiene
If you brush and floss your teeth a few times a day, you may be thinking that you are doing everything that is necessary to maintain good dental health. While brushing and flossing is a vital and important step, proper oral hygiene requires more care in order to maintain overall health. Anyone can practice good oral hygiene by brushing twice a day with fluoride toothpastes, flossing, regularly replacing your toothbrush, and eating a balanced diet. In addition to efficient brushing and flossing, an antimicrobial mouth rinse will reduce the bacteria and plaque that leads to gum disease. To further maintain your oral health, you should see your dentist every six months to treat any issues that may arise.
What to Avoid
To promote good oral hygiene, you should avoid tobacco, soft drinks, alcohol, and coffee. Cigarette smoke can cause oral cancers, periodontal diseases, and will stain and damage your teeth. Limit beverages containing high levels of corn syrup, food dyes, or additives can cause gum disease and tooth decay. Whenever possible patients are encouraged to drink milk and beverages that strengthen and build enamel in teeth.
Additions to Diet
Your teeth and bones need plenty of calcium which you can get from you diet or supplements. It is always better to get calcium from your diet through orange juice, milk, broccoli, and other dairy products. Additional vitamins and nutrients necessary for proper oral hygiene include: vitamin D, vitamin B complex, copper, and zinc.
When to Visit your Dentist
Some people need more frequent visits to the dentist that others. If you have good oral hygiene with minimal risk of gum disease, you can visit your dentist yearly to check for oral problems, cavities, and gum disease. To prevent dental diseases and keep good dental hygiene, schedule routine cleanings every six months.