Keep Your Mouth Clean – A Window to Your Overall Health
Your mouth is a good indicator of your overall health. It can also cause problems for your body if you don’t keep it clean. The mouth holds a lot of bacteria, and although most of them are harmless with proper flossing and brushing, some bacteria can create infections such as gum disease and tooth decay. Additionally, certain medications, such as decongestants, diuretics, and allergy medicines can reduce saliva flow. Saliva is the body’s natural source of cleaning the mouth by washing food away and neutralizing acids produced by bacteria in the mouth.
What conditions are linked to oral health?
Many conditions and diseases are linked to poor oral hygiene. Here are a few:
- Cardiovascular disease. Some research states that clogged arteries and stroke may be linked to inflammation caused by bad oral hygiene.
- Endocarditis. Endocarditis is an infection of the lining of your heart called the endocardium. “This infection usually occurs when bacteria and germs from another area of your body, such as a mouth infection, spreads through your bloodstream and attaches itself to damaged areas of your heart,” said PIH Health physician Cesar Espiritu MD.
- Diabetes. Those with diabetes may be more prone to gum disease as diabetes reduces the body’s resistance to infection, which puts your gums at risk.
How can I care for my oral health?
To protect your oral healthy, it’s important to practice good oral hygiene, daily. Follow these tips to help:
- Brush and floss your teeth twice a day with fluoride toothpaste.
- Eat a well-balanced meal full of protein and vegetables, avoid sugary and processed foods.
- Replace your toothbrush every three-to-four-months or more frequently if the bristles look worn out or frayed.
- Avoid chewing gum and tobacco.
Lastly, be sure to schedule regular checkups with your dentist to avoid any serious concerns, or to correct an already occurring problem. Think of your health as an investment, and there’s no better account than living a healthy life for years to come.