Oral Health, Why It's Important
What’s so important about your oral health?
Your oral health is one of the most important pieces connecting the health of your entire body, as the mouth is a main gateway to the body. What you eat, what you drink, the cleanliness of your teeth and gums, and even the presence of teeth in your mouth (or lack thereof) play a huge role in your overall health. As you’ll see, oral health is a pretty big deal.
Brushing, flossing, regular dental checkups and cleanings…all of these facets of maintaining good oral health go towards you taking care of your overall health.
Why do you need to brush and floss? Well, brushing your teeth regularly actually prevents the build up of dental tartar and calculus on your teeth. The reason this is so, is pretty simple; when you allow dental plaque to remain on your teeth for long enough (even 24 hours) it will harden into tartar (or calculus). When this occurs, you need a professional cleaning to remove it.
Seeing how brushing your teeth really only cleans two sides of your teeth, floss is needed to supplement the cleaning. Floss can get in between the teeth where the toothbrush cannot go. Actually, it’s usually the area in between the teeth that are left out the most, and where a lot of damage to the gums and teeth occur. As I’ve written about the damage that plaque and tartar have on the teeth and gums (hereand here), I won’t get into it too much here.
But I will cover a couple of tidbits that I did not cover in those posts.
Other ways oral health affects your body as a whole
It’s not entirely clear how quite yet, but it has been seen that gum disease (or periodontitis) and heart disease go together fairly regularly. About 91% of people that have heart disease also have periodontitis. That is in contrast to the 66% of people with no heart disease. Both conditions have several factors in common with one another: smoking, bad dietary habits, and an unhealthy weight.
The general theory has been seen to be that inflammation in the mouth can cause inflammation in the blood vessels themselves. Blood vessels that become inflamed permit less blood to go between the heart and the rest of the body, which necessarily raises blood pressure. There is also the fact that the dental plaque in your mouth can actually get into the blood stream, when your gums are inflamed, and cause clots to form, which can lead to stroke and even stop the heart.
It’s pretty obvious that the body and mouth are connected, in terms of health. In regards to missing teeth, evidence from a study as long ago as 1984indicated that as a result of missing teeth there was a reduced consumption of meat, fresh fruit, and vegetables, as well as loss in total energy because of a lack of vitamins from not eating certain foods. Gastrointestinal irritation and even choking may result, as you are not able to chew up the food as well.
Making a habit of it.
You may be one of the many people across the nation that is becoming more and more health conscious. Who may make a daily routine of making that really nutritious shake in the morning, go for a daily 5 mile run, someone who doesn’t smoke, or heck, may not even drink. Maybe you’re part of one of the kickball leagues around Washington, DC, you may bike, or climb, or other amazingly healthy activities. These are obviously very good health choices. Some are made to be routine. You’ve disciplined yourself on maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Awesome! However, there is, at least, one more thing that must also be a part of your healthy lifestyle…maintaining your oral health.
Make a habit of brushing twice a day, for two minutes each time. That alone requires a fair bit of discipline. Make a habit of flossing every day as well, specifically in the evening, an hour or two before bed. Brush your tongue regularly, as it holds quite a lot of the bacteria in your mouth. This last one I’m listing here is very important…make a habit of going to the dental office for your regular checkup and cleanings.
Stay healthy my friends.