What do you think of when you hear oral health? Your mouth? Your teeth? In fact, your mouth is a complex environment that requires a delicate balance to remain healthy. For example, the position of your teeth can create many problems if they are not aligned. Dentists link many issues, such as crooked or missing teeth, to speech problems, nutrition deficiencies, or chronic headaches. Even your saliva is vital for neutralizing harmful bacteria.
On its own, your mouth is complicated. However, you may not realize how important it is to the rest of your body. We now know that our oral health is connected to our overall body health. This means that whatever happens in our mouth can have an impact on another part of our body. Therefore, having a good oral hygiene routine is vital to staying healthy.
The Mouth is a Window to the Body
Everything that goes through your mouth goes through your digestive and respiratory systems. This doesn’t just include foods. Much like the rest of your body, your mouth houses thousands of bacteria. While not all bacteria are bad, some bacteria in your mouth can damage your teeth, gums, and other parts of your body.
A harmful bacteria known as plaque is one of the leading causes of tooth decay and gum disease. When this bacteria sits on your teeth and gums, it will cause decay and irritation. The plaque creates an acid that erodes the enamel, leaving pits or cavities. Additionally, plaque will build beneath the gum line, causing irritation that will lead to gum disease.
Mostly, plaque will not create major problems as long as you have a healthy immune system and a good oral hygiene routine. However, this bacteria can move from your mouth to your digestive tract and respiratory system. This can lead to pneumonia and other illnesses. In fact, many studies link poor oral health and heart disease. Over time, poor oral health can diminish your immune system, leaving you vulnerable to illnesses and diseases.
How Can I Improve My Oral Health?
If you are concerned about your overall wellness, you can focus on increasing the efficiency of your daily oral routine. For example, dentists recommend brushing your teeth at least twice a day to remove plaque.
However, brushing alone is not enough to sufficiently keep your mouth clean. It is essential to floss your teeth daily. Flossing allows you to remove plaque between your teeth and under your gum line. These are hard-to-reach areas that are prone to developing tooth decay and gum disease. Therefore, it is vital to remove as much plaque as possible.
Another way to improve your oral health is to look at your diet and lifestyle. Activities, such as smoking or chewing tobacco, can increase the production of plaque. Additionally, it will heighten the likelihood of developing mouth cancers. With your diet, try avoiding foods that are high in sugar. Plaque consumes sugar, creating acid that will destroy your enamel.