By Marcia Conard
Paying good attention to the care of your teeth and gums can have huge payoffs to your overall health throughout your life. When you hear “healthy mouth, healthy you” it is important to note that this phrase is backed scientifically.
Good oral hygiene habits are generally learned when children are young. As adults, we are role models for our children, so it becomes very important that we practice and demonstrate good oral hygiene skills regularly – brushing, flossing, rinsing with an antiseptic mouthwash, and seeing your dentist on a regular basis, and continue those habits all of our lives.
What are the benefits, you ask? They are numerous!
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- Better Self-Esteem and Confidence levels – When you have decayed teeth and gum disease which can further lead to toothaches and bad breath, you will likely have a lower self-image. A healthy mouth will increase your quality of life and allow you to eat and sleep better.
- Stronger Heart and Lower Risk of Heart Disease – Poor dental hygiene accompanied by unhealthy teeth and gums increases the risks of developing endocarditis which is an infection or inflammation of the inner lining of the heart chambers and valves caused by germs invading the bloodstream. Good oral hygiene decreases the risk of heart disease, blockages of blood vessels, and strokes.
- Sharper Memory — People with gingivitis/severe periodontal disease are three times more likely to have Alzheimer’s disease. Neurologists and Psychiatrists alike find patients they have tested who suffer from gingivitis perform poorly on delayed verbal recall and subtraction tests both, of which, are skills used on a daily basis. Simply using an antibacterial mouthwash and/or toothpaste will help reduce bacteria in the mouth that can cause gingivitis. Additionally, other studies demonstrate stroke patients with higher levels of certain bacteria in their saliva due to poor oral hygiene increased their odds of being a stroke candidate.
- Reduced Risk of Infection and Inflammation in Your Body – There is a direct correlation between poor oral hygiene practices and infections that may develop in your body. Specifically, there are direct links between gum disease and rheumatoid arthritis as well as autoimmune disease.
- Lower Blood Sugar – It is not unusual for diabetics to also have gum disease. Being diabetic can cause you to be less able to fight off infection, including gum infections that can lead to periodontal disease. That can make it harder to control your blood glucose levels reinforcing how important it is to practice good oral health skills.
- Helping Pregnant Women Carry a Baby to Term – Oddly enough, some women may experience an increased chance of suffering from gingivitis during pregnancy which can lead to preterm, low-birthweight babies. As part of your prenatal care, visiting your dentist or periodontist is a good “best practice.”
- Clearer Lungs – Another good “best practice” is if you find yourself hospitalized, continue to practice good oral hygiene in an effort to decrease your chances of hospital-related pneumonia. Studies have shown that by brushing your teeth while in the hospital can decrease your chances by 39%.
- Lowering Your Risk for Cancer – A 2017 study has shown that postmenopausal women with periodontal disease are at a greater risk for several cancers – breast, esophageal, gallbladder, skin and lung.
- Lower Risk of Atherosclerosis – Atherosclerosis related to periodontal disease is the root of many health problems including chronic kidney disease.
- Healthier, Longer Sex Life in Men – Men with E.D. are three times more likely to be suffering from chronic periodontal disease.
- Fatter Wallet – The average 20-year dental expense for an American 65-plus runs approximately $15,340. Good oral hygiene practices at home can reduce a large chunk of that amount!!!
We may not give a lot of thought to how taking good care of our mouth, teeth and gums can lead to so much more than a bright, white smile. The information in this article demonstrates how important it is to eat a balanced diet, get plenty of sleep, exercise regularly and make sure you brush twice a day, floss, and use an antibacterial mouthwash once a day can be. May you keep smiling and enjoy a healthier you!
Marcia Conard is a life-long resident of the Blue Water Area. Marcia has an Associate of Science Degree from St. Clair County Community College. Marcia was licensed by the Federal Government as a Customhouse Broker and worked in Management and as a Director for over 30 years in the Customs Brokerage business. Marcia has two grown sons also living and raising families in the Blue Water Area. Marcia joined the Grant Smith Health Insurance Agency as the operations manager in May, 2017.
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