The Biggest Indicators of Overall Oral Health
I love bread … especially fresh bread, right out of the oven.
I love eating it after it’s been toasted and slathered in sweet butter, or cinnamon butter … or mmm … pesto butter.
I love that as the loaf bakes, the scent permeates the whole house in a blanket of deliciousness. There is a little bit of comfort in every fresh-baked slice.
And there are so many kinds to choose from … ciabatta, French, brioche, Italian. I’m not picky. They all sound good to me!
Each type of bread is made in a different way to create a different texture. One of the things they all have in common is leavening.
Yeast is a common type of leavening. Yeast is used in countless breads and sweet breads.
Yeast is a busy little thing. Did you know what happens when one tiny little bit of yeast is activated inside of warm, gooey dough?
That little baby divides and multiplies, releasing air and expanding throughout the dough. It will continue to multiply throughout the dough until the oven forces it to stop.
That is what bacteria is like inside of our mouths. Bacteria loves to be inside of the mouth; it’s the perfect breeding ground for its expansion plan.
Oral health is important
Even though your oral health may not always seem like the most important thing, especially when you think about preventing diseases or infections, research has shown over and over that oral health has a significant impact on your overall health.
In fact, many diseases and other health problems actually start showing symptoms in the mouth. Those potential problems can also be negatively influenced by poor oral care.
The mouth is already a hotspot for bacteria. The majority of that bacteria is harmless. Thanks to the damp, warm environment inside of the mouth, nasty forms of invasive bacteria are able to thrive, too.
Many diseases can be linked to poor oral health, such as:
- Alzheimer’s - As if losing access to your healthy mind isn’t enough, a big decline in oral health occurs as Alzheimer's disease progresses.
- HIV/AIDS - Horribly painful mouth lesions are a normal occurrence in patients with HIV/AIDS.
- Diabetes - This illness weakens the immune system, so it puts the gums in rather compromised position. That is why gum disease is more prevalent in people who suffer from diabetes. Taking care of your mouth means less diabetes complications.
- Osteoporosis - It affects your bones, so it affects your teeth. It causes tooth loss. Even the drugs that help treat osteoporosis can damage the jaw bones.
- Endocarditis - This is an infection that occurs in the endocardium. It happens when bacteria from a different part of the body travels through the blood and ends up in the heart. This is how excess mouth bacteria can be the cause of endocarditis
- Pneumonia - Nasty bacteria from your mouth can make its way into the lungs and wreak havoc. It has been known to cause respiratory diseases and pneumonia.
- Cardiovascular disease - This is still being researched. Some researchers have proposed that plaque bacteria from the mouth travel through the bloodstream and leads to clogged arteries or a stroke.
- Pregnancy Complications -Poor oral health has been linked to low birth weight and even premature births, which can pose a threat to the baby. The list of complications that come with premature birth is pretty frightening.
Are you paying attention now? Oral health is a big deal.
Which brings us back to bacteria. You can’t leave it alone. When this harmful bacterium is not regularly and thoroughly removed, it’s obvious that health problems can arise.
That is why proper oral hygiene is so important for fighting off harmful bacteria and preventing other, more serious health problems.
One of the more obvious health problems that can arise as a result of poor oral hygiene is gingivitis, a gum disease. Plaque gone crazy is the culprit.
Plaque buildup is the top contributor for this condition because it can deteriorate the gums and cause lesions. When this happens, it leaves our gums vulnerable to infection, as well as potentially clogging arteries leading to poor heart condition and sometimes heart attack.
Needless to say, taking care of your teeth and gums is more important than you may think!
The mouth is also a place for doctors to check for several other diseases. You probably already know the drill. When you go to the doctor, they get an oversized cotton swab and wield that thing to take a swab from inside of your cheek, or the dreaded back of the throat, to determine an illness.
Gag. Literally. They do this mouth dive because many signs of illness show up in the mouth.
Other things can also be measured through the saliva such as drug and substance presence, hormone levels, and even signs of certain cancers. Who knew, right?! I’d rather have a little mouth swab than a stab with a needle any day of the week.
It’s pretty clear that the mouth really is a sort of hot bed for a person’s health. So, taking proper care of your teeth and gums is imperative for the overall health in our bodies.
Proper Oral Care Routine
What is a proper oral care routine? At the dentist, they always stress a thorough brushing, flossing daily, and avoiding things like sugary and starchy foods that can cause cavities and deteriorate the condition of teeth and gums.
It is most effective to floss first. Flossing is crucial when it comes to removing plaque and bacteria from in between the teeth and promoting circulation within the gums. This can prevent bacteria from getting inside and causing infections.
The removal of plaque, as stated earlier, is really important for maintaining a healthy circulation throughout the rest of the body, keeping it free from inflammation and infection.
Brush your teeth twice a day after you floss. Be sure to use a toothpaste accepted by the American Dental Association, as well as a soft-bristled toothbrush.
When you brush, be sure to move your brush in tiny circles on the surfaces of the teeth. No sawing. No harsh scrubbing like you’re using a chisel. You can go back and forth on the surfaces of the back teeth.
Lastly, use a mouth rinse that effectively removes everything you just scrubbed loose. You can use an ADA mouthwash, or water.
In addition to taking care of the inside of your mouth, taking care of the outside can be equally important. This means you need to take care of your lips.
Be sure to perform proper lip care, like treating dry and cracked lips with nourishing, beneficial ingredients. Because so much bacteria can spread through the mouth, it’s just as important to make sure no harmful bacteria can get through any lesions on the lips.
You know what I mean. Those darn cold sores are a literal pain. Canker sores aren’t a whole lot better. Take care of those things before they get out of hand.
Not to mention, having soft and nourished lips feels good and looks great. Snow offers an excellent option for lip treatment.
Unlike the glorious results of yeast released into dough, bacteria unleashed in the mouth does not lead to a happy mouth or healthy body.
It’s not vanity to take care of your teeth. Oral health is not simply a cosmetic issue, it is one of the most important aspects of maintaining a healthy body.
So, do you and your dentist a favor and take extra care from now on to care for your teeth, gums, and lips. Your smile will thank you and so will your body.