When considering your overall well-being, proper dental health and oral hygiene practices are more important than you may realize.
The mouth serves as the window to your overall health, and the condition it is in can give you and your health care provider key clues into your current state of wellness.
Bacteria and Poor Oral Hygiene
Like many parts of the body, the mouth is full of bacteria that are generally harmless to most thanks to proper dental hygiene practice (like daily brushing and flossing) and the body’s natural defenses.
But without proper care and attention, these bacteria can build up, leading to various oral issues. These can include:
- Cracked teeth
- Receding gums
- Gum disease
- Oral Cancer
How does oral health affect overall health?
As the direct point of entry to the respiratory and digestive tracts, the mouth serves as the body’s gatekeeper. Issues that begin here, if left untreated, can also start to cause problems in other parts of the body.
In their research, the Mayo Clinic, a nonprofit American academic medical center, links the development of several non-oral health conditions to issues stemming from and related to poor dental care, including:
- A bacterial infection of the heart chambers and valves
- Heart disease, clogged arteries and stroke
- Pregnancy complications
This integral role that the mouth plays is why proper dental care is key to keeping the body well. It is also why Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHC) like Fetter Health Care Network place such importance on dental care.
How you can practice proper dental care?
While the issues that can arise from poor dental and oral health can become severe, the steps and practices to avoid these outcomes are often quite simple:
Floss daily to clean between teeth. Though unfortunately overlooked by many, flossing is a crucial step in the dental care process. Flossing allows you to hit those hard-to-reach spots that you may not be able to with a toothbrush.
Add mouthwash to your dental care routine. Fluoride-rich mouthwash can help to strengthen your teeth and remove any excess particles that may still be leftover after brushing and flossing.
Brush your teeth twice a day. Proper and consistent brushing is essential to any good dental care routine. While brushing in the morning is a great way to freshen your breath for the day, nightly brushing is just as important as it allows you to remove any bacteria or acids present from meals throughout the day.
The American Dental Association (ADA) recommends brushing for at least two minutes per session, along with the use of fluoride toothpaste. You may consider using a power toothbrush as well if you find yourself with increased plaque build-up.
While anyone can adopt this step, the ADA especially recommends this for those with an increased risk of gum disease.
Limit your intake of sugary beverages and snacks. Everyone loves a sweet treat every now and then, and that’s ok! However, it is possible to have too much of a good thing.
Drinks and snacks high in sugar, like soda and candy, can cause cavities and tooth decay. Limiting your consumption of these sugary treats can be an excellent way to help both your dental and overall health.
Schedule regular appointments with your dentist. While a daily dental routine is essential for overall oral hygiene, paying regular visits to a trained dental specialist is the best way to ensure there are no missed complications.
Fetter is here for you!
If you are located in the Lowcountry and are experiencing any dental issues, reach out to Fetter Health Care Network today to schedule your next visit.
Appointments are available with both our in-house team at Charleston Family Health Center and our mobile dental unit.
For additional tips on how you can reduce the risk of cavities, gum disease, and other oral issues, we recommend checking out the ADA’s Home Oral Care Guide.
Dental Health Services at Fetter Health Care Network
Fetter Health Care Network offers a wide variety of dental and oral health services and affordable payment options. Learn more by contacting our team or scheduling an appointment today.