It’s a fast-paced, activity-filled world we live in these days. Most people I know can’t find enough hours in the day to do everything we need to. Getting through our busy days requires that we prioritize the tasks that appear to be the most vital, which means that there’s a list of other ones that fall by the wayside.
Generally speaking, we tend to make work, family, and finances our primary priorities. Even our own health may become secondary to the other concerns, unless we’re ill or there’s an emergency. Oral hygiene is certainly no exception. But it’s a mistake to neglect this vital aspect of our health. Let’s take a look at why this is true.
It’s important to see a dentist regularly.
Regardless of how well you take care of your teeth at home, you need to see your dentist at regular intervals in order to maintain proper oral hygiene. A dentist’s exam can catch problems in your mouth, such as cavities just beginning to form, at an early stage when they’ll be easier and less costly to fix. And the cleaning you get from the dentist will be much more thorough than you can possibly do yourself at home. The American Dental Association recommends seeing your dentist at least once or twice a year, in most cases.
But you need to do your part at home as well.
As much as the last paragraph above is true, so is its converse. It’s not enough to get regular checkups and cleanings, if you don’t do your homework. If you’re not brushing and flossing regularly, you’re likely to be accumulating plaque and tartar, which lead to a host of oral hygiene problems. Dentists recommend brushing at least twice a day for two to three minutes, and flossing daily. Don’t skip out on this one.
Our habits may put our oral health at greater risks.
Oral health, like all aspects of our health, is a delicate balance, subject to a variety of factors. Many habits that we take for granted subject our teeth and health to extra stress. Some of these are:
- Consumption of foods and beverages containing a lot of sugar (which the nasty bacteria that cause tooth decay other other problems just love and thrive on.
- Smoking and using other tobacco products, which are irritating to your mouth, stain your teeth, and put you at higher risk of a number of other health issues.
- Poor nutrition - Be sure your diet includes sufficient amounts of Vitamin C, which helps fight infections including gum disease, and Vitamin D, which strengthens your teeth and their connection to your gums.
Oral hygiene affects more than just your mouth
We all know that our teeth make up our smile, and that we use them to eat. But don’t forget that our teeth are, in some ways, the gateway to the rest of our body. Poor oral hygiene is likely to lead to infections in your gums, and periodontitis, or gum disease. In extreme cases this can result in loss of bone material around the infected gums, and may lead to other health conditions including:
- Heart Disease
- Complications with Pregnancy
Why take chances? Make sure to make your oral hygiene a priority and develop good habits for your oral and dental health.