You are always hearing about dental hygiene and how important it is. But did you know that it isn't just important because of the effects it has on your teeth and gums? Dental hygiene is also important because of the effects it has on your health.
First things first, what is dental hygiene? Dental hygiene is cleaning your teeth daily by brushing your teeth at least two to three times daily with fluoride toothpaste that has been accepted by the American dental association. You also need to floss your teeth at least once daily to make sure you are removing plaque and other debris that might be caught in between your teeth. Another part of dental hygiene is eating a balanced diet and seeing your dentist for regular exams. All of this is part of dental hygiene.
Dental hygiene affects your health more than you think. If you do not brush your teeth regularly plaque can form. Plaque is a type of bacteria that forms right above your gum line. If you don't keep up on your dental hygiene by brushing and flossing everyday the plaque will turn to tartar. Once plaque turns to tartar the only way to get it off is to go see your dentist. Your dentist has a procedure called scaling to take off the tartar. If the tartar is not removed you can develop gum disease such as gingivitis. If you develop gingivitis and do not get it treated it could turn into more serious peroidontitis.
Periodontitis is a serious form of gingivitis that is a stage of infection that is damaging. The damage includes weakness of bones, teeth becoming loose or even loss of teeth. There have also been recent studies that have proven that periodontitis can be associated with strokes, diabetes, and heart disease.
Periodontitis can lead to strokes, diabetes, and heart disease because of inflammation in the mouth. Inflammation in the mouth cause white blood cells and proteins to increase production that helps to fight infections. The increased production of white blood cells and protein cause a negative side effect. The negative side effect is that inflammation not only makes your gums inflamed, but the infection causing it gets into the blood stream and is carried down the inflammation into the arteries. Causing inflammation in the arteries makes them more vulnerable to the deposition of cholesterol and fats. Having deposition of cholesterol and fats in your arteries is what leads to heart attacks and strokes. Studies have shown people that have more plaque and bacteria's in their mouths have a higher risk for heart disease and strokes.
Also if you have an existing heart disease you will need to make sure to keep up on your dental hygiene. Dental hygiene can affect your health. For example, if you start to bleed in your mouth and the bacteria from your gums get into your blood stream and stay on the abnormal valve it could cause a serious infection.
Another way that hygiene affects your health is when you get older. If you do not take care of your teeth now you might have to have dentures or you might have mouth infections. Having mouth infections or dentures that do not fit well can cause weight loss or malnutrition.
All of these examples are how dental hygiene affects your health. If you want more detailed information or have questions you want answered on how dental hygiene affects your health contact your dentist or doctor and tell them your concerns. Your dentist or doctor will be able to help you find out what you need to do to get the best dental hygiene based on your age and what health problems you have.
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Dr. Phillip Greer