17 Jul What’s So Important About Clean Teeth?
Sure, it feels good to have clean teeth when you leave the dentist’s office. But what if good oral hygiene does more for you than just giving you fresh breath?
Every year on July 18th, we celebrate Dental Awareness Day. In the spirit of Dental Awareness Day, we want to take a moment to understand the bigger picture behind why keeping your teeth, gums, and mouth healthy is such an important task.
To better understand the significance of good dental hygiene, we’ll look at:
- The dangers of poor dental hygiene
- How to maintain proper dental hygiene
Along the way, we’ll touch on how good nutrition can actually improve your dental health. By committing to a healthy diet and proper dental care, you are setting yourself up for oral health success.
The Dangers of Poor Dental Hygiene
The more we learn about the human body, the more we find poor dental hygiene linked to grave health conditions such as cancer and heart disease. This is no surprise, as your mouth is full of illness-inducing bacteria! While much of the bacteria in your mouth is harmless, plenty of it is not. Your mouth is the start of your respiratory and digestive tracts, and the point where most harmful bacteria enter your body.
A good dental care routine can help prevent this unwanted bacteria from making it past your mouth and deeper into your body. Your body can only do so much on its own. Failure to care for it can result in lots of dangerous bacteria buildup.
Hazardous bacteria can cause oral problems that are immediately noticeable. But the threat doesn’t just stop with your mouth. The corrosive effects of the bacteria can result in a host of health problems, such as:
- Heart disease
- Oral cancer
- Pregnancy or birth complications
- Endocarditis (an infection in the chamber of your heart and heart valves)
Preexisting conditions can also influence your oral health. If you have a condition such as osteoporosis, diabetes, or HIV, you’re at a higher risk for further issues to develop in the future. Talk to your dentist about what can occur with these conditions and how to address them.
It’s Dental Awareness Day 2023, and it’s time to properly understand the impact of poor dental hygiene. Understanding prompts us to address the threat that failing health poses. More than just warning you of the dangers, we here at Knoxville Family Dental want to provide you with the tools and tips necessary to not only protect your oral health but the health of your entire body!
How to Maintain Proper Dental Hygiene
The best weapon in the fight for good oral health is a consistent and effective dental care routine. A good dental care routine is about more than brushing twice a day. It even requires more than flossing! Stick with us, though. Developing and maintaining a good dental hygiene routine is easier than you may think.
To help prevent cavities and other consequences of poor dental health, you should:
- Brush your teeth twice a day with fluoride toothpaste
- Floss at least once a day
- Use fluoride mouthwash
- Visit your dentist every six months for cleanings
- Drink fluoridated water
- Eat healthy foods that are also good for your teeth
- Quit using tobacco products, including smokeless tobacco
- Avoid tongue rings and other oral piercings
Adding these practices to your oral health routine won’t just protect your teeth. They’ll also help you avoid developing gum disease, oral cancer, and all the fallout of unhealthy, failing teeth. This discipline will even benefit your pocketbook in the long run! One less cavity means one less cavity that needs to be filled.
Even when taking diligent care of your teeth, you should still keep a lookout for any problems that may arise.
- Overly sensitive teeth
- Periodontitis, a severe gum infection that can lead to tooth loss
- Oral cancer
- Gingivitis, inflammation of the gums
One of the best ways to spot problems before they become emergencies is to visit your dentist every six months. They’ll have the tools to spot issues you may not notice, as well as have the knowledge and skills to address them immediately.
How Good Nutrition Benefits Your Dental Health
You’re probably aware of the negative effects sugary foods have on your teeth. Overconsumption of these types of foods and drinks can eat away at your teeth’s enamel. A diet full of unhealthy food combined with poor dental hygiene is guaranteed to result in tooth decay and even tooth loss.
The good news is, the reverse is also true: a nutritious diet can actually enhance dental health. This is because a lot of foods are packed with teeth-protecting vitamins and minerals that also support overall health.
First, you want to eat a diet that’s full of calcium. Everyone knows carrots are good for your eyes; well, your teeth need and love calcium just as much. This includes foods such as:
- Leafy greens
- Calcium-fortified tofu
Second, stock your plate with protein. Foods that are high in protein also contain phosphorus, which helps to keep your teeth, gums, and jaw at their strongest. Not only are protein and phosphorus protectors, but they also give you a hand by rebuilding lost tooth enamel!
You can find protein and phosphorus in:
Have you eaten your fruits and veggies today? If you haven’t, it’s time to load up. While fruits can be naturally high in sugar, their fiber and water content more than makes up for it. Fruits and vegetables are particularly useful for increasing saliva production, which aids in cleaning away acid and other particles from your teeth. Some with rougher textures, like broccoli, even act like nature’s toothbrush!
We haven’t even mentioned the vitamin content of these delicious foods yet. As you surely learned as a kid, fruits and vegetables are stocked with healthy vitamins. Like protein and phosphorus, vitamin A is known to help rebuild tooth enamel. Vitamin C is essential for maintaining healthy gums.
Last but certainly not least, make sure you’re drinking plenty of water. This will boost your saliva production, rise away any food particles, and support your overall health. It’s best to drink fluoridated water if you can, as this will aid your body in its struggle to keep your teeth packed with essential minerals. At the end of the day, water is healthier than just about anything else you can drink, and your teeth will thank you for it.
Dental Awareness Day is a great time to start thinking about your dental hygiene. It’s never too late to start a good habit! Remember that the majority of bad bacteria enters through your mouth, so having an effective dental routine is essential. This can easily be achieved through basics like brushing and flossing every day, visiting your dentist regularly, and quitting tobacco. You should also know how nutrition affects your oral health.
By eating healthier, you’re protecting your overall health as well as your smile!
If you have questions for your dentist about oral health, or would like to schedule an appointment, contact one of our offices today.