More and more research is revealing that your oral health, as in the state of your teeth and gums, is actually one of the biggest indicators of your overall health. This is news to a lot of people, and understandably, they’d like to know how this actually works. Today, we’re going to show you why a trip to the dentist can help you well beyond your teeth.
How Your Oral and Overall Health Are Connected
When you think about it, it’s easy to see how your mouth could influence your overall health. It’s the most important portal into your body, and pretty much anything that is in the mouth can travel everywhere else. The best example of this is digestion. Food goes in the mouth, into your stomach, and eventually it makes its way into your bloodstream where it travels throughout your entire body. Unfortunately, this also means that negative things, such as bacteria, can do the exact same. If a person develops gum disease due to a lack of oral hygiene, for example, it’s very easy for this harmful bacteria to get into the bloodstream. The gums are very vascular structures, meaning they are filled with blood vessels. Once the bacteria is in the blood, it can go to any place in your body and do harm, and it often does. Gum disease, which is the most common dental problem in the world, is now known to be one of the leading risk factors for a number of serious diseases, such as diabetes, heart disease, and stroke.
What You Can Do About It
So now that you have this new knowledge, what can you actually do with it? Fortunately, it all comes down to just taking care of your teeth and gums, which you probably know how to do already. It all starts with consistent brushing and flossing at home. You should brush at least twice a day for 2 minutes each time and floss once. This simple routine is one of the most important things you can do to protect both your teeth and your health. Another big factor is your diet. Foods that are highly acidic and filled with sugar (such as candies, sodas, and energy drinks) make you much more likely to develop tooth decay, cavities, and gum disease. This is because the bacteria in your mouth likes to feed on the leftover sugar. An easy way to control this is to limit your consumption of these foods and choose more teeth-friendly items such as water, cheeses, yogurt, nuts, and vegetables. Conveniently enough, the foods and drinks that are good for your teeth tend to be great for the rest of your body as well! Of course, the final piece of this puzzle involves routinely seeing your dentist. At a standard appointment, you’ll have your teeth professionally cleaned (where they’ll target the areas your brush and floss can’t reach), and your dentist will examine your mouth for any potential dental issues. By coming in for these appointments regularly, you’ll enable your dentist to catch any problems you might have early so they can treat them before they can cause real problems for both your smile and your health. In the end, taking care of your teeth should be thought of as part of your complete health regimen on the same level as a balanced diet, exercise, and adequate sleep. When all of these elements combine, you’ll not only look and feel great, but you’ll also have a smile you’re always proud to show off.