Good teeth and a nice smile are up there on our list of desirable properties. Teeth take work to look good, but their maintenance goes much further than the surface. Good oral hygiene has many benefits that help your overall health as well as your mouth health, and even if you’ve practiced poor oral hygiene in the past, you can still turn it around for a better oral future. Learn more about why it’s important to take care of your teeth below.
Why oral hygiene is important
Practicing good oral hygiene will have many benefits for your overall health. The advances in tooth and mouth care today means that there are no longer excuses for not looking after your teeth. A survey published by Delta Dental revealed that while 70% of Americans brush their teeth twice a day, there are still some people who don’t brush enough – with 23% admitting that they have gone two or more days without brushing. These figures are concerning as even the most basic elements of oral hygiene such as using toothpaste, can help to prevent bad breath, gum disease and infections which can develop into more serious conditions.
A visit to your dentist could save your life
As we age, it becomes even more important to look after our teeth and mouths. Retaining your teeth will make it easier for you to carry out functions such as chewing and eating food and means you won’t need dentures in later life. Poor oral hygiene can lead to gum disease, which has been proven to be linked to heart disease. A regular visit to your dentist could identify issues such as gum disease early and ensure that they don’t worsen and develop into more critical problems requiring more than just a scale and polish.
In addition to heart disease, poor oral health has been linked to Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, stroke and others. Your dentist can use an assessment of your oral health to highlight other conditions and detect oral cancer early. You may think that you should only see your dentist when you feel pain or know something isn’t right, but a regular appointment could highlight issues that you aren’t aware of and potentially save your life.
Tackling emergency problems early
Dental emergencies can occur at any time and can lead to some consequences for the function and appearance of your teeth. If you suffer a knock, a broken tooth or similar type of issue, you need to book an emergency dental appointment as soon as possible to prevent it getting worse. If you’re concerned about payments for an emergency appointment, most providers can offer payment plans that will mean you won’t have to wait to get the treatment you need.
Practicing good oral hygiene
There are many ways that you can take better care of your oral hygiene and the earlier you start, the better it will be for your health. Basic oral hygiene includes:
- Brushing twice a day. You should make sure you do this in the morning and evening, although you might want to brush more frequently if you eat food that is particularly sugary or has a strong flavor like garlic.
- Flossing after brushing. The American Dental Association has some great advice, including videos on how to do this well. It’s recommended that you floss after brushing to make sure that you don’t leave any plaque behind that your toothbrush might have missed.
- Using mouthwash. Mouthwash is not only good for keeping your breath fresh, but it can also help to kill other bacteria not caught by brushing or flossing. Mouthwash can be effective for tackling the early signs of gum disease and stop issues such as bleeding gums in their tracks.
- Avoiding sugar. Cutting down on sugar has many benefits, but most of all for your teeth. The build-up of sugar throughout the day can cause teeth to stain and for plaque to form which can cause teeth to rot and decay. Avoid sugar-filled sodas and candy and stick to water and healthy treats like these great smoothie recipes instead. Just make sure that you brush your teeth afterwards as fruit contains sugar too.
It’s a simple part of self-care, but many people fail to realise the importance of good oral hygiene. Say hello to a healthier new you by taking charge of your oral health and seeing the difference it can make to your well-being.