Brush Your Teeth to Stay Healthy
Still snacking on leftover jelly beans and chocolate bunnies? You probably know that sugary foods can cause cavities or gum disease. Nurse Rose Melendez, RN, shares how oral hygiene is also important for your overall health.
How does oral hygiene effect our overall health?
Nurse Rose: Healthy gums help prevent the entry of bacteria into the bloodstream, while the saliva in your mouth contains enzymes that help destroy bacteria and viruses, offering important protection against infection.
Poor dental hygiene can cause periodontal disease, or gum disease which creates a port for bacteria to enter your bloodstream and can eventually infect the entire jawbone.
What kinds of health problems can poor dental hygiene cause?
Nurse Rose: Poor dental hygiene can cause numerous other health conditions, including:
- Breathing problems like pneumonia or COPD
- Endocarditis or swelling of the heart
- Heart disease
- Inflammation in other areas of the body
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Increased risk of pregnancy complications like premature birth or low birth weight
How can we keep up good oral hygiene habits?
Nurse Rose: Try these tips to keep your mouth healthy and clean.
- Buy toothpaste with the ADA (American Dental Association) seal and fluoride in it.
- Brush teeth, mouth and gums twice daily.
- Floss at least twice daily.
- Eat more natural foods like vegetables, fruit, nuts and lean meat. Avoid packaged snacks and sweets.
- Limit intake of sugary drinks like soda, sports drinks and juices.
- Visit your dentist once every six months.
If you notice any pain or discomfort in your mouth, see your dentist as soon as possible.