Being mindful about your oral health and hygiene goes far deeper than “pearly whites” and fresh breath. Of course, we all want our dental situation to be as close to perfect as possible, and our desires for cavity-free checkups and tartar-less teeth are reason enough to brush and floss twice daily and see the dentist for cleanings and X-rays two times per year. 

That said, oral health goes further than a stain-free smile. Oral health has an impact on our overall health, so neglecting your teeth and gums can lead to serious problems down the road. Here at Dentistry Of West Bend, Dr. Jared Harding and the friendly team understand the implications of poor oral health, well beyond bad breath and plaque. 

Read on to learn why taking care of your oral health is so important. You’ll see how your oral health can affect your overall health, and ways to maintain a healthy mouth so you can reduce the risk of developing issues and illnesses that may have been prevented had you been proactive in practicing good oral health measures. 

What Can I Do To Keep My Mouth As Healthy As Possible?

Ultimately, it is up to the patient to take charge of their oral health. This means brushing each day (at least twice per day) combined with flossing, and making appointments for general checkups with the dentist twice yearly, along with additional visits when necessary. 

Your general dental checkup will be a good indicator of how you are doing oral health-wise. Your dentist can check thoroughly for:

  • Tartar buildup 
  • Plaque
  • Tooth decay 
  • Cavity formation 
  • Signs of gum disease
  • Oral cancer

Brushing and flossing are a huge help, but those actions alone can’t replace a visit to the dentist. The professional assessment is crucial in caring for oral health issues before they get worse, potentially affecting the rest of the body. Dental issues may be starting up, even if you feel fine. Getting a jump start on repair/healing can save you from something far more invasive. 

Try your best to stay away from foods and drinks which can cause cavities, specifically sugary, sticky, or starchy foods that can stick to the teeth. Stay well-hydrated so the surface of the teeth isn’t dry, so food bits can more readily be removed. 

Never ignore:

  •  Signs of pain or discomfort
  • Developments such as:

-Chipped or cracked teeth 

-Tender, swollen, or bleeding gums

-Any unusual lumps or bumps 

Pay attention to any changes – big or small – and be sure to discuss them with your dentist at your next appointment, or sooner if the issue seems urgent. 

Additional Steps For Good Health:

  • Refrain from smoking or other forms of tobacco use
  • Limit alcohol consumption 
  • Eat nutritiously
  • Replace your toothbrush with a fresh one a few times per year
  • Use a tartar control toothpaste for added measure

What Sorts Of Overall Health Issues Can Occur Due To Poor Oral Health?

When your oral health is neglected, bacteria can build up, leading to infection and disease, specifically gum disease (periodontitis). This bacteria/infection can travel through the bloodstream, affecting other areas of the body, sometimes in major, life-threatening ways. 

For example, cardiovascular disease can be attributed to poor oral health, due to inflammation and/or infection which stems from oral bacteria that has made its way through the body. The lining of the heart can also be affected by this bacteria. 

Respiratory infections can stem from oral health problems as well, leading to pneumonia that was caused by bacteria in the mouth initially. 

Gum disease can also impact pregnancy, leading to low birth weight and premature birth. 

Those more susceptible to infection, such as people with HIV/AIDS and diabetes, as well as blood cell disorders are at an increased risk of having problems associated with poor oral hygiene. 

Knowing that your body can be dangerously impacted by poor oral hygiene is just another reason to be vigilant about caring for your teeth, gums, and mouth. Your dentist and hygienist are part of the team to keep you as healthy as possible, from top to bottom, well beyond the dentist’s chair. 

Stay On Top Of Things For Better Health

When you are on the ball and don’t skimp on your health, you are already a step ahead. Remember to practice healthy habits, see your dentist as well as your general health doctor regularly, know your body, and trust your gut instincts. The more in tune you are with your wellbeing, the better you will fare healthwise. 

To book your next appointment at Dentistry Of West Bend, please call us at (262) 618-0251. You can also fill out this brief online form and we will contact you as soon as possible to confirm your appointment. The office is open Monday – Thursday. We look forward to seeing you soon and helping you stay healthy.