A smile is more than just an expression and you’re never fully dressed without it. Teeth serve as the first line of defense in the protection of our overall health. They have an impact on how we eat, what we eat, and how we digest food. They even have control over how we communicate. Maintaining good oral and dental hygiene practices throughout your life can help you avoid both dental and medical issues. Good oral hygiene is linked to overall health. It includes having not only straight, white teeth, but also healthy gums and oral tissue, including the tongue. Maintaining a good oral health routine can help prevent diabetes, heart disease, and a variety of other health problems.
Why it’s important to look after your teeth?
Your oral health often deteriorates as you get older. If you don’t take care of your teeth and gums, you risk developing serious medical conditions like diabetes, cardiovascular disease, dementia, cancer, and respiratory infections. Here are some reasons to take care of your teeth as you age:
- Gum Disease – As you get older, your gums recede, exposing your tooth surfaces and roots to bacteria that can cause decay. Gum disease develops when plaque builds along and beneath the gum line. Plaque causes infections that harm the gums and bones that hold your teeth in place. Brushing and flossing every day can often cure a mild form of gum disease. More severe gum disease must be treated by a dentist. These types of infection can cause sore, bleeding gums, painful chewing problems, and even tooth loss if not treated.
- Dry Mouth – When you don’t have enough saliva to keep your mouth moist, dry mouth occurs. It can make eating, swallowing, tasting, and even speaking difficult. Saliva keeps your mouth moist and washes your teeth naturally, removing food particles that can cause decay. Tooth decay, fungal infections of the mouth, and cavities can all be exacerbated by dry mouth. Drinking plenty of water throughout the day and avoiding mouthwashes containing alcohol, which can dry out your oral tissues, help a great deal with dry mouth.
- Plaque – It develops under the gums on tooth roots, causing the bones that support teeth to deteriorate. Bacteria in your mouth combine with sugary or starchy foods to form plaque. After you eat or drink, plaque bacteria produce acids. These acids can damage tooth enamel, resulting in cavities and gingivitis (gum disease). Your dentist will scrape any plaque and tartar buildup from your teeth when you have your teeth cleaned. Tartar buildup is prevented by practicing good oral hygiene, which includes regular brushing and flossing.
- Sensitive and Brittle Teeth – Regular toothpaste, foods, and beverages may irritate your teeth over time. Tooth enamel can become brittle as you age. Dental professionals recommend using sensitive toothpaste and a mouth rinse. Contact your dentist if you experience pain while eating or drinking, and schedule regular dental exams to ensure that your tooth sensitivity is not caused by decay or other oral issues.
- Tooth Decay – Food particles and bacteria can become trapped in the teeth causing decay. Practice good oral hygiene, make smart food choices, and do not use tobacco products to help prevent tooth decay. However, once a cavity forms, a dentist must fill it to prevent further damage.
- Oral Cancer – Oral cancer can begin anywhere in the mouth or throat, including the tongue. Your dentist can check for signs of oral cancer during a dental checkup. Tobacco products such as cigarettes, chewing tobacco, snuff, pipes, and cigars need to be avoided if you want to lower your risk of getting oral cancer.
How to take good care of your teeth
Many doctors regard our teeth and mouth as a kind of diagnostic system for our overall health. A healthy mouth, teeth, and gums can have a positive impact on one’s overall health. Good oral health isn’t difficult to achieve, but it does require commitment. Use these tips to take care of your mouth and teeth for the rest of your life:
- Brush your teeth after every meal at least for two minutes.
- Floss between your teeth once a day to remove food particles and debris from hard-to-reach places.
- Avoid foods that are acidic or sugary because they increase plaque and bacteria build-up.
- Brush your teeth first thing in the morning to help remove the plaque that has accumulated overnight.
- Refrain from smoking or using tobacco products.
- Have regular dental check-ups, preferably every six months, but at least once a year.
- If you notice a change, have pain or bleeding in your mouth, or if your teeth are injured, call your dentist right away.