Have you ever considered the impact your oral health has on your overall health and wellbeing? The two are so interconnected but we don’t often make that connection consciously ourselves. It makes sense to exercise regularly and make good food choices to keep our bodies fit and healthy. Yet we so often fail to care for our teeth and gums in the same manner. A domino effect in a way, suffering from poor oral health leads to a reduction in our body’s health and wellbeing levels too.
Sadly, we find patients who return to visit us after not having attended a check-up for many years, have long lasting and often irreversible damage. Unknown to the patient, their teeth and gums have suffered damage without them even realising. Your teeth or gums may feel ‘fine’ but are you certain they are okay?
Keys to Achieving Great Oral Health
We all know about the importance of brushing our teeth twice daily and visiting our dentist regularly. Yet many of us have suffered from tooth ache caused by dental decay, or had stained teeth or bad breath from cavities or unhealthy and bleeding gums. All too often we end up placing our oral health at the bottom of the importance pile, prioritising other tasks or activities higher than keeping our teeth in great condition. As a result, our physical health can suffer, along with our self-esteem and overall sense of wellbeing. To achieve a healthy body, we must have a healthy mouth and here are eight keys to achieve that:
- SUGARS: Ever heard the phrase, ‘You are what you eat?’ True for our bodies as well as our mouths, what we eat and drink plays an important role in the health of our teeth. Unknown to many, our teeth are incredibly affected by what we eat and drink, as well as what we place in our mouths. Food and drink high in sugar cause decay. Although we expect lower decay rates in this modern age with what we know and understand about decay, we are seeing higher decay rates than ever before, even in children. Reduce the frequency of which you consume sugary foods and beverages. Regularly consuming sugary food and drinks will provide the perfect environment for rapid decay to occur.
- ACIDS: Dental erosion is also a newer problem that we didn’t used to see so much of previously, but numbers are now increasing. You can limit the damage it causes by reducing acidic foods and beverages in your diet and being mindful of what you place in your mouth. For instance, a nightly wine or a lemon drink in the morning will both expose your teeth to high levels of acidity. This leads to an increased level of tooth erosion and decay.
- SMOKING: Adults who smoke are seven times more likely to lose their teeth due to gum disease, as well as suffer from oral and throat cancer.
- ORAL HYGIENE: Brush your teeth at least twice a day, ideally using an electric toothbrush. An electric toothbrush can remove more plaque than a manual toothbrush. Using a fluoride toothpaste is also important, as it helps to strengthen tooth enamel and re-mineralise tooth decay sites.
- FLOSS: Floss daily between your teeth to remove hidden food and plaque. When we eat, food is often pushed down into the gaps between our teeth. Unable to be effectively removed with only a toothbrush, inter dental cleaning aids (floss or special brushes) are the only way it can be removed.
- HYDRATE WITH H2O: Drink primarily only water. Not only does it not contain sugar, water will not cause staining either. If you do drink sugary drinks, limit the frequency in which you consume them. It is better to drink a fizzy drink in one sitting rather than over the course of a day.
- VISIT YOUR DENTIST: Attend for regular check-ups as recommended by your dentist. They will help you to prevent small problems turning into large, painful and expensive ones!
- CAUTION: Use your teeth as they are intended to be used! This means don’t use your teeth as tools and wear a mouthguard for sports!
Ways in Which Poor Oral Health Can Affect You
If your teeth and gums are in a poor condition, the physical and mental wellbeing of your body may be suffering too. Being able to share your beautiful smile with others is a real confidence booster, along with knowing that your oral health is in tip-top shape!
If your teeth are painful, missing or you have dentures, the diet you can eat may be limited. This often means you choose softer and more highly processed foods over more nutritious ones. You also chew your food less, which means you swallow larger pieces of food, placing more stress on your digestive system to break down your food for you. Finally, your self-esteem can also suffer due to poor oral health, with bad breath, stained, crooked or missing teeth not giving you the confidence and the smile you want.
Your dentist is here to help you achieve great oral health and a great smile. By following our eight important keys to great oral health, we’ll not only get your smiling, but feeling great too!