Dental Hygiene Facts: The Importance of Dental Health for a Long Life

Posted on October 4, 2018

Do you know why dental health is so important?

Every time you go to the dentist, they probably try to instill in you the importance of taking care of your teeth. But it's not just about your teeth - the importance of dental health spans every aspect of your life. Poor dental health can actually negatively affect your overall health in many different ways.

For example, did you know that your projected lifespan is linked to the number of teeth you have? Research has connected the loss of teeth (and the factors that cause tooth loss) with a shorter lifespan.

There are many factors in life that can negatively affect your oral health. Some of them are things you may not have control over. But the more you can do to keep your teeth healthy, the better your overall health and quality of life will be. Ready to learn the dental hygiene facts that will convince you to care for your teeth better? Keep reading!

1. Dental Sealants Protect Teeth

Have you ever heard of a dental sealant? If not, this can be a great way to protect you and your family's teeth, starting from a young age.

When people are about six years old, the permanent molars start to grow. These molars are often where cavities and decay first start.

A sealant is a protective coat that can keep these permanent teeth from getting damaged. Children with sealants are much less likely to develop cavities as they get older.

2. Plaque Causes Disease

At any moment in time, there are hundreds of bacteria species thriving in your mouth. They come in through environmental sources, such as what you eat.

Without proper dental care, those bacteria turn into plaque on the teeth. Plaque doesn't have a color, so you may not be able to see it. However, it negatively affects your health in a number of ways.

Plaque causes gum diseases and inflames the mouth. However, the buildup of dental plaque has also been linked to a surprising host of other health problems, from dementia to heart attacks.

3. Bacteria and Inflammation Cause Overall Health Problems

Wondering why poor dental health is linked to so many other health problems? A lot of it has to do with bacteria and inflammation.

For example, poor dental care has been linked to a higher risk of endocarditis. Endocarditis is when the lining of your heart becomes infected.

It's usually caused by bacteria that enter the heart from other parts of your body, such as your mouth. When those germs get into your bloodstream and find their way to the weak parts of your heart, they can wreak havoc.

Inflammation from the mouth can also travel through the body and cause problems in other areas -- it's been linked to stroke and heart attack. There's a whole host of surprising health problems linked to poor dental hygiene, and they can almost always be traced back to bacteria or inflammation in the mouth.

4. Dental Health Is a Process

You can't have good oral health in just one step. To care properly for the health of your teeth, you need to make it a part of your daily lifestyle.

For example, if you've neglected the health of your teeth for a while, you'll have a plaque buildup. You won't be able to remove it all in a single session of brushing and flossing. Instead, you'll need to change your habits of brushing and flossing for a number of days before you start to remove all the buildup.

5. There Is Such a Thing as Too Much Fluoride

You've probably heard many things about the benefits of fluoride for oral health. However, it is actually possible to use too much.

There are no serious negative consequences to using too much fluoride. However, it does cause white spots on the teeth.

Most Americans have fluoride in their drinking water, as well as in their toothpaste and mouthwash. Your dentist will probably want to give you a fluoride treatment when you visit them, too.

If you suspect you're getting more fluoride than you need, talk to your dentist about possible ways to reduce fluoride use. And if you haven't seen a dentist in a while, make sure to get dental insurance so you can stay on top of your oral health.

6. Saliva Keeps You Healthy

Saliva is an important part of oral health. If your mouth doesn't have the proper saliva levels, it can affect your dental health and overall health.

Saliva is actually an important part of the body's defence against bacteria and other organisms that can cause disease. Your saliva naturally has antibodies that help get rid of disease-causing organisms, from the flu to HIV. It also helps prevent the growth of damaging fungus that otherwise leads to oral thrush.

The enzymes in saliva can destroy bacteria before they can travel to other parts of your body and cause damage. If your mouth isn't producing enough saliva, you might start to encounter many health problems.

7. Chewing Gum Is Good for You

To increase the flow of your much-needed saliva, sugar-free gum can help. Chew it after you eat to help spark saliva production to get rid of the bacteria in your mouth.

If you don't have gum, an antibacterial mouth rinse is also a good way to clean your mouth after you eat and throughout the day.

8. Diet Makes a Difference

No matter how good you are at brushing, flossing, and other oral healthcare, your diet might be harming your teeth.

Eating a balanced diet that's low in sugar will help keep things working as they should be. Some research has even linked the consumption of healthy omega-3s in your food to a lower risk of inflammation.

How to Use These Dental Hygiene Facts

Our dental hygiene facts aren't just interesting. They can also guide you to make the changes that will preserve your oral health, and your overall health, for years to come.

Your children need help protecting their oral health too. Not sure how to teach them to care for their teeth when they don't always want to? Don't miss this guide.

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