Oral hygiene is crucial to the overall health and well-being of any person. It used to be something that was only taught to schoolchildren, until Dr. Esther Wilkins published a textbook in 1959 called “Clinical Practice of the Dental Hygienist.” Her groundbreaking work paved the way for dental hygiene to become more widespread in the U.S.
Dental hygienists and dentists encourage healthy habits that benefit more than just the teeth and gums. Here are some of the biggest benefits of maintaining a proper dental hygiene routine.
The Importance of Dental Hygiene
Prevent tooth decay
Perhaps the longest known benefit of good dental hygiene habits is their ability to prevent tooth decay.
Tooth decay manifests itself in the form of cavities, which are also known as caries. When bacteria builds up in your teeth, it forms plaque and tartar. Left untreated, the plaque and tartar will begin to eat away at your enamel.
Prevent gum disease
In its early stages, gum disease, or, gingivitis is relatively mild, resulting in swollen and bleeding gums. However, if left untreated it can progress to periodontitis. This is a detrimental condition that can eventually result in tooth and jaw bone loss.
Eliminate bad breath
Practicing good dental hygiene habits also helps to reduce bad breath, otherwise known as halitosis. While bad breath in itself isn’t necessarily harmful, it may be a sign of some serious underlying issues such as tooth decay or even diabetes.
However, we think it’s fair to assume that no one wants bad breath. Maintaining proper dental hygiene and avoiding tobacco products and odorous foods will help combat foul-smelling breath.
Oral Hygiene – How It Impacts Your Overall Health
Practicing good oral hygiene doesn’t just impact your dental health. Oral hygiene is a key player in your overall physical wellness and has been linked to some pretty big health issues:
Several studies have found a correlation between periodontal disease and heart disease, potentially due to bacteria from the mouth that builds up as plaque in the arteries.
Studies show that gum-dwelling bacterial organisms may enter the bloodstream when aspirated, suggesting a link between poor dental hygiene and pneumonia.
Pregnant? Research shows that the same bacteria that causes periodontitis may enter the bloodstream and transfer to the fetus, potentially resulting in premature birth and low birth weight.
Those with poor oral hygiene habits are more likely to get oral cancer.
Top Oral Hygiene Tips
When bacteria hardens, it becomes plaque and tartar and can cause tooth decay. Brushing your teeth at least twice a day effectively removes this bacteria from the teeth and gums. Make sure you use a toothpaste that contains fluoride for the greatest oral health benefits.
Flossing is just as important as brushing your teeth. It eliminates food particles and plaque in hard-to-reach places that toothbrushes can’t access. For optimal dental hygiene, be sure to floss at least once a day.
Scraping your tongue with a tongue scraper is also a great way to maintain your oral health. On top of keeping your breath fresh, it also helps to eliminate bacteria buildup on the tongue.
Your diet has a big impact on your dental health. Balancing fresh fruit and veggies with whole, unprocessed foods and plenty of water will help to fight cavities. Sugary foods and beverages, tobacco, and alcohol all can negatively affect your oral hygiene, so it’s wise to avoid consuming these in excess (or at all, if you can help it).
Mouthwash is a great way to keep your breath fresh, but it can do much more than that, too. For maximum health benefits, look for a mouthwash that has anti-bacterial properties to keep harmful germs at bay. Those without anti-bacterial properties may still freshen your breath but will do little to kill bacteria.
Regular dental visits
Regular dental checkups are vital to your oral and dental health. On top of thoroughly cleaning your teeth, your dentist and dental hygienist will screen you for cavities and take X-rays to look for abnormalities that you cannot see with the naked eye.
The benefits of good oral hygiene extend well beyond dental health. Make sure to keep up with these dentist-approved dental hygiene tips for optimal overall health.
Keeping up with regular dental visits is one of the best things you can do for your health. Let Dr. Evans and his friendly dental hygienists help with your oral health maintenance. Contact us today.