Written for Dental1 by Michelle Alford
Since a young age, we’re taught that regular brushing and flossing fights tooth decay and gum disease, but good dental hygiene promotes more than just a healthy mouth. Poor oral health can lead to heart disease, stroke, diabetes, dementia, reproduction dysfunction, and pneumonia. Daily brushing and flossing is the most effective way for us to fight disease and enable us to live a long and healthy life.
Improve Overall Health Through Oral Health
Brush at least twice a day
Floss at least once a day
Gargle mouthwash for at least 30 seconds a day
Visit a dentist at least once every six months
The mouth is the dirtiest part of the body. Bacteria thrive in the wet, warm environment. When people fail to regularly brush, much of that bacteria is swallowed or breathed in and works its way into the blood stream and respiratory system, eventually spreading throughout the body.
Here are a few of the more serious problems caused by poor periodontal health.
Heart Disease: When bacteria from the mouth is absorbed into the bloodstream, it can damage artery walls and contribute to blood clots. Research shows that those with periodontal disease are twice as likely to suffer from heart disease than those with healthy mouths.
Respiratory Disease: Bacteria is inhaled into the throat and respiratory tract, increasing the likelihood of infection and leading to dangerous respiratory diseases. According to Dr. Donald S. Clem, President of the American Academy of Periodontology. “By working with your dentist or periodontist, you may actually be able to prevent or diminish the progression of harmful diseases such as pneumonia or COPD.”
Reproduction Dysfunction: Fertility is negatively affected by gum disease. One study shows that women with gum disease take an average of two months longer to conceive than women with healthy mouths. Non-caucasean women with gum disease take an average of 12 months longer to conceive. Men with gum disease also showed a decrease in fertility. According to a study done by Hebrew University Hadassah School of Dental Medicine, men with serious periodontal disease showed much lower sperm counts, or even sperm counts of zero. In addition, pregnant women with gum disease are three to eight times more likely to give birth prematurely.
Dentists recommend brushing twice a day and flossing once a day to both prevent gum disease and improve overall health. Keep a healthy mouth and live a healthy life.
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