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Smile Big - Why Dental Hygiene Matters

Smile Big - Why Dental Hygiene Matters

You may dread the moment someone says “say cheese” or work to cover-up your smile in the moment.

Smiling is one of our primary nonverbal communication tools. It’s an instinctive reaction that we do even as babies. Smiling shows you are a friendly, open, outgoing, and happy person. In fact, studies have shown that people who make an effort to smile often are happier people.

In addition, poor oral health may set you up for a whole array of diseases or health issues. If you have bad dental health, chances are you have other health problems as well.

There are so many reasons to keep your oral hygiene in check. It plays a role in your self-confidence as well as in your overall health and well-being.

Let’s take a closer look!

1. Poor oral health is linked to a greater risk of heart disease.

This one may come as a surprise, and more research is needed to fully back up these claims.

But, studies to date have shown that gum disease may lead to heart issues. Why? Scientists have linked chronic gum disease to increased thickness of blood vessels in the neck. As well, this consistent exposure to bacteria may lead to widespread inflammation. These 2 aspects significantly raise your risk of heart disease or stroke.

It goes to show that dental health matters not only for aesthetic reasons but could also be a key indicator of other potential health issues.

2. Good oral health contributes to a healthy pregnancy.

Taking care of yourself is a huge priority during pregnancy. Whatever you consume or do impacts the future of your child as well. It isn’t just about you anymore.

Poor oral hygiene during pregnancy could potentially cause premature birth or a low birth weight. If you are pregnant, make sure to make those regular dental check-ups and brush your teeth properly.

3. If you don’t take care of your teeth, you may be putting yourself at risk for diabetes.

Research shows that bad dental health may lead to diabetes and vice-versa.

Gum disease can cause insulin resistance. Consequently, blood sugar levels rise, causing diabetes. On the other hand, those who have diabetes are more likely to suffer from gum disease. It’s a 2-way link.

4. Good dental health habits can help you lose weight.

Wait, what?

Your dental health matters when it comes to shedding those pounds. The theory is that brushing your teeth tells your brain that you are done eating.

So, instead of reaching for that dessert that you really don’t need, brush your teeth! It will signal to your stomach and brain that you are done eating for now, suppressing your appetite.

Besides the information mentioned above, you could be setting yourself up for a bunch of uncomfortable diseases and conditions, such as:

  • Dental Cavities: This term refers to tooth decay. It happens when bacteria builds up on your teeth, leading to cracks or grooves.
  • Periodontal Disease: This is the technical term for gum disease, involving inflammation of the teeth and gums. Gingivitis is the milder version of this disease.
  • Oral Cancer
  • Tooth Loss
  • Dental Pain
  • Bad Breath
  • Digestive Issues
  • Plus other infections, none of which are exactly pleasant.

What Can You Do to Improve Your Dental Health?

There are many regular habits you can get into to ensure that you evade these diseases and conditions - plus, save on that expensive dental bill.

Go to Regular Dental Check-ups

No matter how much you brush or floss, it is still important to make a visit to the dentist once and awhile. Sometimes, things like cavities really aren’t your fault. It could come down to bad luck in the genetic lottery.

Schedule your dentist appointments at least once every year. If you are more prone to cavities, aim for every 6 months.

Brush The Right Way

Surprisingly, there is a right and wrong way to brush your teeth. You could brush all you want, but if it’s not done effectively, you could be leaving yourself at risk of infection or disease.

Most dentists recommend brushing your teeth at least twice a day if you can. You should brush your teeth at a 45-degree angle with your toothbrush. Use short back and forth strokes. Cover the outer portion of your teeth and the inner part. Then, move the brush up and down across the same surfaces.

Don’t Forget to Floss

Unfortunately, brushing doesn’t quite cut it when it comes to the spaces in between each tooth. Flossing gets rid of the stuff that gets caught in between your teeth. Floss thoroughly 1-2 times a day. I like to keep a pack of plastic flossers from the dollar store with me at all times for busier mornings.

Check Your Diet

Diet is the often neglected entity. Yet, it’s important. Avoid excess sugar and alcohol, and limit smoking. These are all things that could potentially cause cancer and tooth decay. Tobacco, in particular, is known to increase your oral cancer risk.

Instead, use a straw for these occasional drinks. Don’t smoke! And start incorporating oral-health friendly foods, such as cheese and nuts. Find foods with high vitamin A and C content - these nutrients help prevent gum disease. Remember, a healthy and balanced diet goes a long way contributing to optimal physical and mental health.

Change Your Toothbrush Regularly

We frequently use toothbrushes until they get old and gross. This is a big no-no. Bacteria can build on your brush, which means you aren’t getting the best clean. Change your toothbrush every 3-4 months. Stock up on the freebies when you are at the dentist!

Conclusion

Your oral hygiene and health matters! What is going on in your mouth reflects the rest of your health as well. Not only that, it can impact your smile.

So, take care of your dental health. Smile big! Allow your confidence to shine through. Think twice next time before you decide to skip out on that brushing session right before bed.

Krista Bugden

Krista Bugden

"Believing in yourself is really half the battle," says Krista. Anything is possible and you really can achieve anything you set your mind to, is her motto. Physiotherapist, Piano player, skydiver, yogi, adventure traveler and energetic force of positivity, Krista is herself a (delightful) force to be reckoned with! As... Read More

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