You already know good oral hygiene keeps you free of gum disease, tooth decay and bad breath.
What you may not know is that brushing regularly, flossing and visiting your dentist lowers your risk of serious health problems.
What’s happening in your mouth tells you a lot about what’s happening in the other areas of your body. Over and over again, research has proven the link between oral health and your overall general health, making taking care of your teeth more than just a mindless ritual–a necessary step to staying healthy.
Want to improve your overall health?
Here are five ways to improve your overall health:
1. Reduce your risk of heart attack or stroke
Gum disease is often linked with heart disease, though all of the reasons why are not clear. Research shows people with severe gum infections have a greater risk of heart attack or stroke. In fact, up to 91 percent of patients with heart disease also have gum disease.
Reduce your risk of heart disease by flossing daily and brushing regularly—after each meal is best.
2. Soothe your aching joints
Oral bacteria finds its way to joint fluid and causes pain and discomfort. Treating gum disease has been shown to reduce joint pain caused by arthritis.
Good diet, proper care of your teeth and regular trips to your dentist help you to avoid gum disease and keep your joints pain-free.
3. Breathe easier
By now you may see the connection between oral bacteria and poor health.
Here’s another point to consider. Patients with tooth plaque breathe in microparticals of the plaque which host bacteria that eventually finds its way to your lungs. This causes severe problems including pneumonia. And worsens chronic lung conditions.
If you want to breathe easier, choose a healthy diet that’s low in simple sugars and rich in essential nutrients and maintain your regular brushing and flossing routine.
4. Brush to get pregnant
There are interesting links between gum health and pregnancy. In fact, one study linked gum disease with difficulty in getting pregnant. Women in the study with gum disease took two months longer to get pregnant than others without the condition.
Want to increase your odds of getting pregnant? Keeping those teeth and gums healthy is one good method to try.
5. Identify diabetes early
There are millions of people who have diabetes and don’t know it.
Did you know that dentists can play a role in identifying the disease? By examining your mouth regularly, looking for anything abnormal, we gain clues about risk factors for diabetes.
In one study,dentists correctly identified patients with diabetes 73 percent of the time through an oral examination. Practicing good oral hygiene and keeping your regular dental appointments can do more than just save your teeth—it can save your life.
Ready to improve your overall health? Keep up with your regular routine of brushing and flossing, choose a healthy diet, and be sure to schedule regular dental cleanings and exams.
Dr. Mike Malone and his team practice expert cosmetic dentistry in Lafayette, LA. Dr. Malone is the former president and accredited member of the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry. He is also the official Cosmetic Dentist of the Miss Louisiana USA and Miss Louisiana Teen USA pageants.