When you think about health, you probably turn your attention to healthy eating and avoiding things like smoking and drinking too much. But did you know that your dental health can have a major bearing on your general health? Numerous studies have identified links between poor oral health and an increased risk of life-threatening conditions including heart disease, diabetes, and strokes. Here are just some of the benefits of brushing, and some tips to keep your smile looking shipshape.
The benefits of brushing
Brushing is incredibly important for your oral health, but there are also links between your mouth and the rest of your body. Neglecting brushing increases the risk of plaque formation, putting you ate risk of gum disease and decay. Plaque is a sticky film, which clings to the surfaces of the teeth. It is created when food debris and bacteria combine with saliva. If you don’t brush frequently, plaque can turn into tartar, a hard yellow substance, which cannot be removed by brushing. Decay causes holes to form in the teeth, and elevates the risk of infections and abscesses. Gum disease can be very painful, and it’s also the most common cause of premature tooth loss in adults.
Brushing your teeth is not just important to retain a healthy, sparkling smile. Researchers have discovered poor oral health can also increase the risk of heart disease, dementia, and strokes. It is believed that harmful bacteria associated with gum disease can travel through the bloodstream, bringing about an inflammatory response in the rest of the body. There is also evidence to suggest that gum disease can expose expectant mothers to a risk of premature birth and complications during pregnancy and labor.
Dental health tips
Dental diseases can be very damaging, but the good news is that decay and gum disease are preventable. Dental care experts recommend twice-daily brushing and regular dental visits. If you attend regular check-ups, you’re up to 60 percent less likely to develop cavities or gum disease. Many people are apprehensive about going to the dentist, but a routine check only lasts a few minutes, and you won’t feel any pain at all. If you can keep up to date with 6-12 monthly checks, there’s a much lower risk that you’ll need intensive treatment.
Dentists also recommend monitoring your intake of sugary and acidic foods. These foods, and drinks like soda and energy drinks, contribute to acid erosion of the enamel. The enamel forms the outer coating of the teeth. It is incredibly hard, but it can be worn down by acids present in foods and also those released by harmful oral bacteria. It’s particularly important to avoid eating or drinking anything sugary or acidic between meals. When you eat, bacteria release acids, and this causes the enamel to become weak. It takes around an hour for the enamel to recover. If you continue to graze throughout the day, your enamel never has chance to reharden.
Most people are aware that brushing helps to keep caries and gum disease at arm’s length, but there are other important benefits of cleaning your teeth. It may seem a bit dramatic to claim that brushing could save your life, but it’s never been more important to take good care of your pearly whites.