It’s important to remember that your mouth is—quite literally—the entrance to your body, and the health of your teeth, gums, and oral tissues has a surprisingly big impact on your overall health as well. You might not think of brushing your teeth as preventing your risk of heart attack or stroke, but current scientific data suggests you may be doing just that! Let’s take a closer look at the benefits of dental hygiene as they relate to the rest of your body.

What Kind Of Health Problems Are Caused By Bad Teeth?

The risk of poor oral hygiene is greatest to structures in the mouth itself, including gingivitis, an infection around the gumline, which can cause painful swelling and tooth decay. If left untreated, the infection can advance into periodontitis, which affects the inner tissues and even bones of the jaw, resulting in pain, bleeding, and eventual loss of teeth.

As harmful bacteria accumulate in the mouth, your natural saliva is usually capable of washing away any microorganisms that can make you sick. However, as oral disease decreases this saliva flow, bacteria can overcome your body’s natural defenses and lead to serious disease.

Some diseases linked to poor oral hygiene include:

Cardiovascular disease

A potentially deadly condition that is linked to bacteria from the mouth clogging and inflaming blood vessels around the heart.

Endocarditis

A type of infection that occurs when bacteria from your mouth enters the bloodstream and attaches to structures inside the heart

Pregnancy and birth complications

Premature birth has been linked to periodontitis

Pneumonia

Inhaling bacteria from your mouth into your lungs can cause pneumonia and other respiratory diseases.

How Does Good Dental Hygiene Protect My Health?

Taking good care of your mouth is the first step in living well in other areas of your life. Healthy teeth and jaw structures are integral to proper nutrition and effective communication, and symptoms like bad breath, stained, or rotting teeth can take a toll on your social and mental well-being. Finding a good oral hygiene routine can prevent mild symptoms from becoming serious or even dangerous problems later on. Some tips for keeping your mouth healthy and disease-free include:

  • Brush twice daily with a clean, soft-bristled brush. Be sure to replace your toothbrush every three months, or when you notice the bristles start to fray.
  • Use a fluoride toothpaste. Fluoride is a naturally occurring mineral that hardens the enamel of your teeth, preventing decay and infection.
  • Avoid sugary or acidic foods. Sugar leaves a residue on your teeth that harmful bacteria eat and produce acid that wears away at your enamel. Likewise, overly acidic foods will weaken your teeth over time.
  • Floss daily using proper technique and take extra care to clean between every tooth.
  • Drink more water to keep your body hydrated and to flush out harmful bacteria and scraps of food. Drinking more water also helps your body produce more saliva, which protects the mouth and teeth and neutralizes acid in your mouth.
  • Visit a dentist regularly for checkups and cleanings. Our professional dentists in Spanish Springs Family Dentistry will spot potential problem areas in your mouth before they get worse and advise you on the proper course of treatment.

Protecting your mouth is an investment in your overall health, and with proper care and a daily oral hygiene routine, you can prevent potentially life-threatening complications at the source. If you have any questions about your oral hygiene, or if you’re looking for a dentist in Sparks, Nevada, visit us at Spanish Springs Family Dentistry today to make an appointment.