How Your Dental Health Affects Your Overall Health

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Taking care of your health is more than just eating the right type of foods. It’s a whole process of diet and nutrition, exercise, and personal care.

Too often, when people think about their health, they don’t consider the impacts of proper dental hygiene. And if you go down that path, it’ll eventually catch up to you.

Your dental health is crucial to your overall health because our mouths are the entryway to digestive and respiratory tracts, making them a priority to prevent illness and disease.

One of the first steps toward good dental hygiene is eating the right balance of good foods and proper nutrition.

Avoid sugary or processed foods, and eat foods in moderation and with variety. In addition to being bad for the body and skin, sugars cause cavities and tooth decay.

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Tooth decay and cavities increase the number of bacteria in the mouth. Without proper dental care, these bacteria can lead to various respiratory and digestive tract health issues.

One little hidden secret is that certain carbohydrates like crackers, pasta, chips, and bread, can break down in the mouth into simple sugars leading to more tooth decay. You don’t have to avoid these entirely, but keep this in mind as you’re deciding what to eat throughout your day.

Just eat these starches in moderation and practice good dental hygiene daily.

Tip: your dentist can provide you with a list of foods and beverages that are good for your teeth, as well as those that you want to avoid.

Examples of Good Daily Dental Hygiene

Understanding that your dental health is as important as any other form of personal care, what does it mean for daily dental hygiene?

There are at least six essential things you can do to practice good daily dental hygiene.

Our top six tips for maintaining good oral health are:

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  • Drink Water: Water helps wash away remaining food particles in the mouth, maintains moisture in the mouth, and helps with saliva. Saliva works to break down food and bacteria in the mouth that otherwise could cause diseases and illnesses. Get into the habit of drinking a glass of water after brushing your teeth in the morning and evening. And of course, it never hurts to do so throughout the day, such as after you eat a snack or meal.
  • Brush: Brush your teeth twice a day. When you brush your teeth, be sure to use fluoride-based toothpaste and brush vigorously but not hard. Brushing too hard on the teeth can wear down the protective enamel and lead to more tooth decay and cavities. Talk to your dentist about the type of toothbrush that’s best for your teeths, gums, and oral health as a whole.
  • Floss: Floss every day to get food that may be lodged between teeth and is too difficult to brush out with a toothbrush. Flossing also stimulates the gums and helps with plaque buildup, another major cause of tooth decay and gum issues. If your gums bleed when you floss, talk to your dentist about your concerns.
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  • Mouthwash: Use a mouthwash that contains chlorhexidine, a central ingredient shown to combat plaque and gingivitis. A mouthwash works to flush out remaining food particles from brushing and flossing and eliminating any other bacteria lingering in the mouth. Even if you only do this once a day, it’ll go a long way in improving your oral health.
  • Visit: Get regular dental check-ups and routine cleanings from your dentist to determine if there are additional needs for your teeth and oral health. Typically a patient should schedule an examination from their dentist every six months, though certain health factors may require more frequent examinations. But of course, if you have concerns before your next appointment, contact your dentist for guidance.
  • Don’t Smoke: Smoking is one of the leading causes of gum disease and other periodontal issues. Besides, smoking can cause discoloration of the teeth, impair healing in the mouth, and cause smokers to have foul, bad-breath. It’s never too late to quit smoking.

One additional hint is that you should replace your toothbrush every three months on average, or sooner depending on the bristles’ state.

If your toothbrush bristles are splayed or packed, then you should consider changing to a new brush for more effective cleaning.

Tip: keep a pack of toothbrushes in your linen cabinet at all times. This way, it’s easy to replace your toothbrush when necessary.

Finding The Right Dentist For Your Overall Health

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When you focus on your dental health, so much of your overall health improves. This is in part to eating the right type of foods, drinking plenty of water, and minimizing disease risk.

It shouldn’t be too difficult to find the right dentist in your area, but while you’re looking for one, you want to consider a dentist that takes a holistic approach to your health. This goes a long way in giving you peace of mind, as you know that your dentist always takes your overall health into consideration.

You can do a Google search or use Yelp for recommendations, but again, you want to find someone that approaches dentistry as part of your overall health program. Don’t hesitate to contact prospective dentists to ask questions and gather more information on their approach.

A good example is this Winnetka Dental Arts specialist who takes a holistic approach to your physical and dental health. You can compare your dentist with Winnetka and see if it’s the right fit for you. You may soon realize that your current dentist isn’t doing as much as they can for your overall health.

Taking care of your health starts with eating right, drinking plenty of water, getting enough exercise, and seeing a dentist regularly. The right dentist will help you maintain your oral health and set you on the pathway toward better overall health as well.

Don’t be shy about changing dentists if you feel that it would benefit your health. By making the right decision this time around, you’ll gain the peace of mind you’ve been seeking.