What is good oral hygiene? The mouth should look and smell healthy, meaning that your teeth are free of debris (feel like flossing?), gums are pink and do not hurt or bleed when you brush or floss, and bad breath is not a common problem for you. Bleeding gums and constant bad breath? Time to make a dentist appointment! Good oral hygiene allows you to smile and be confident. It is good for your overall well-being.
While it is unlikely that poor oral hygiene is the sole cause for the related conditions below, poor oral hygiene combined with the other risk factors can be a dangerous combination. Gum disease has been linked to heart attacks, clogged arteries, diabetes, and premature births.
Severe forms of gum disease have been linked to heart disease, clogged arteries, strokes, too. Gum disease has also been known to cause premature birth in pregnant women. Have diabetes? Your body’s inability to control your blood sugar and fight infections leaves your gums undefended against disease. Those with diabetes tend to lose their teeth much quicker due to increased bone loss caused by erratic blood sugar levels. And tooth loss is often prevalent in those with HIV/AIDS and Alzheimer’s disease.1
It does make you wonder why taking care of our mouth is so low on the totem pole of things to do. The bacteria in your mouth is usually harmless when brushed and flossed away. But, when inflamed gums begin to bleed, then passage into the blood stream is provided for more than 700 kinds of bacteria.2 Scary, right? Once the bacteria is in the blood stream there is potential that they can stick to the walls of your arteries which is why poor oral hygiene is linked most often with cardiovascular diseases. Aggressive antibiotic drug treatments can potentially reverse the effects that poor oral hygiene has on your health.
To protect yourself in between dental check-ups you should brush and floss twice a day, schedule regular dental check-ups, and replace your toothbrush every four months. Dr. Truong strongly suggests the use of an electric toothbrush. It is an investment that your teeth will thank you for later in life. The end result, however, will remain the same for those that choose to put the cleanliness of their mouth on the back burner. Regardless of how healthy you are, if you don’t take care of your teeth, you are at risk for some nasty diseases.