Many of us underestimate the things that our teeth do for us. Sure they allow us to chew our food and everyone likes to have a nice clean smile, but the mouth and provides much more vital services to the rest of our body and to our overall well-being.
It is true that the mouth’s primary function is to break down the foods that we eat into smaller pieces so that the food can be swallowed and more easily processed by the digestive system. But did you know that your mouth can be the first line of defense against harmful diseases and bacterial infections? Many health problems carry with them oral symptoms. For example, mouth sores, bleeding gums, decreased saliva, and even your teeth themselves can be connected to oral cancer, heart disease, diabetes, respiratory ailments and pre-mature low birth-weight babies.
Obviously, dental health goes beyond having a cosmetically appealing smile. Maintaining proper dental health can improve your overall health and even allow for early detection of serious health problems. Below are 5 important tips for great oral health:
Proper brushing and flossing
Your teeth are surprisingly strong. The teeth can exert between 30 to 50 pounds of pressure and the molars can exert more than 200 pounds of force! Your teeth provide you with a way to give your body the nutrients that you need to stay alive. Failure to care for your teeth properly can lead to bacterial infections, sensitivity, pain, and even tooth loss.
Proper brushing and flossing are imperative if you want to hold on to your teeth for the length of your life. You are probably aware of the benefits of brushing your teeth, but did you know that brushing too hard can cause more harm than good? A person who brushes with too much vigor can actually push the gum line down (which is irreversible) and cause the sensitive layers of the tooth to become exposed. Likewise causing damage to the gum line through improper flossing can lead to infections that can travel from the mouth to other parts of the body.
Avoid tobacco use
If you are looking for a fast way to cause serious harm to your dental health, start smoking or chewing tobacco. Those who use tobacco are going to have problems with their teeth, gums, breath and overall health. Tobacco use leads to periodontal disease (a severe bacterial infection that if left untreated can travel to other areas of your body and causes thousands of deaths a year), gum recession, bone loss, bleeding gums, persistent bad breath, pus between the teeth, and gums and tooth loss. Loose or separating teeth and teeth that don’t fit together the way they used to are also indicators of smoking and periodontal disease. Even smoking less than half a pack a day will make you three times more susceptible to serious dental health related problems.
Good breath maintenance
Brush and scrape your tongue regularly. Rinse your mouth out with water after eating if you are unable to brush. Avoid using sugary minds or alcohol laden mouth washes as they can provide more harm than good to your teeth and gums. Sugarless gum triggers saliva production which is nature’s way of keeping your mouth healthy. Snacking on celery, carrots or apples can clean away other food left from the previous meal.
Regular dental check-ups
Perhaps the most important great dental health tip is to make and keep regular dental check-up appointments. Your dentist can provide preventative care and specialized instructions for you.
Eating a balanced diet contributes to better gum health and better breath. Nutrients such as calcium can strengthen teeth and improve their longevity. Avoiding foods that are too hard, acidic, or sugary will prevent the acceleration of tooth damage and bacteria production.