Practicing good dental hygiene is about more than having a beautiful smile. In fact, inadequate dental hygiene can lead to worse problems than discolored teeth. Tooth decay and gum disease, both of which are attributed to poor oral hygiene, can lead to serious health risks in other areas of the body, including the heart. In the following article, Dr. Ho, who practices at the Dentistry on Parkdale dental clinic in Hamilton, ON explains the importance of good oral hygiene.
Good oral health correlates with good overall health. Common dental problems such as tooth decay and gum disease can impact the appearance of the smile, affect your ability to eat or speak properly, cause pain, and cause other unpleasant symptoms such as the chronic bad breath.
Additionally, many people do not realize the effect poor dental health can have on the body as a whole. There are indications that oral health problems can affect the heart, pregnancy, arthritis, diabetes, and stroke.
According to studies from the Cleveland Clinic, there is evidence that bacteria from gum disease can travel outside of the mouth to the heart, causing issues such as cardiovascular disease, clogged arteries, or stroke. Periodontitis has been linked to low birth weight in pregnant women. Individuals with diabetes have difficulty fighting infection, making them more susceptible to gum disease which can have a negative effect on blood sugar.
Practicing good dental hygiene is a smart move because it can prevent oral disease as well as other health conditions.
While prevention is always the primary focus when it comes to dental hygiene, it’s also important to know the signs of serious dental problems so that treatment can begin as early as possible. You should make an appointment at your Hamilton, ON dental clinic right away if you notice:
All these symptoms can be signs of a potentially serious problem such as gum disease or certain mouth cancers.
Good dental hygiene starts with a consistent routine at home. Establishing daily habits will help ensure that you maintain the health of the mouth. Your routine should look something like this.
Brushing – Make sure you are brushing your teeth at least twice every day. Ideally, you should brush after every meal. Make sure you use a soft-bristled toothbrush and brush the teeth at a 45-degree angle, brushing all surfaces of the teeth. Don’t forget the tongue and cheeks!
Flossing – Flossing is important because it eliminates food particles that become trapped between teeth and will eventually lead to plaque build-up and tooth decay. It doesn’t matter if you floss in the morning or evening, just make sure you do it every day.
Diet – A healthy diet is an important part of good oral hygiene. Make sure you are minimizing sugar intake and consuming a diet that consists of fruits and vegetables, dairy, whole grains, and lean proteins. Limit alcohol consumption as much as possible.
Smoking – If you smoke or use tobacco products it can put you at risk for many oral conditions such as gum disease or cancer. Quitting smoking greatly improves your oral health and total health.
Exams & Cleanings – Seeing your dentist every six months is also important to maintaining good oral health. During these appointments, a professional cleaning will remove plaque buildup that is difficult to get with brushing and flossing at home. These visits also allow the dentist to monitor your oral health, check for any early signs of disease, and make recommendations such as orthodontics treatment.
Being proactive about dental hygiene and oral health is a way you can protect yourself from potentially serious oral conditions and other health risks such as heart disease and diabetes. At Dentistry on Parkdale in Hamilton, ON, we are committed to helping you keep your smile healthy, clean, and beautiful. Whether you are new to the area, or simply looking for a new dentist, we’d love to help you. Give our dental clinic a call at 905-547-4940 to schedule an appointment.
Dr. Karen Ho is a trusted dentist serving patients of all ages in Hamilton, Ontario. Having studied at prestigious institutes such as McMaster University and University of Toronto and trained at Hartford Hospital (General Practice Residency), she opened her private practice in 2003.
Dr. Ho is committed to lifelong learning as she believes that she can serve her community better by constantly updating herself. She is affiliated with many professional organisations like the Academy of General Dentistry, Institute for Clinical Practice of Pediatric Dentistry, The Dawson Academy Study Club, Niagara Peninsula Dental Diagnostic Study Club, Hamilton Chapter of the Seattle Study Club (Founding Member), and Boston and Tufts Universities.