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Importance of Dental Hygiene: How It Affects Overall Health

importance of dental hygiene

The importance of dental hygiene extends beyond just a bright and white smile. There is a strong connection between our mouth and our body – sound oral health goes hand in hand with a sound overall health. Good oral hygiene can not only enhance your overall health but also lower the risk of serious diseases and help preserve memory in old age.  

If you are thinking about how dental hygiene affects overall health, this post is here to help you understand the connection between our oral health and general health. Following are some ways healthy gums and teeth improve your overall health. 

Importance of Dental Hygiene – Ways Dental Health Affects Overall Health 

1. Helps Increase Confidence and Self-Esteem 

Gum disease and decayed teeth are not only associated with a not-so-pleasant mouth but also a bad breath, which can affect your self-esteem, self-image, and confidence. A healthy mouth free from cavities and gum disease can also help improve your quality of life. It lets you sleep better, eat properly, and concentrate better with no mouth infections and aching teeth to distract you.  

2. Preserves Memory 

Adults suffering from gingivitis (swollen and bleeding gums) did worse on memory and other cognitive skill tests compared to those having healthier mouths and gums, as per a report in Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery & Psychiatry.  

People with gingivitis had a greater likelihood of performing poorly in two tests – delayed subtraction and verbal recall – both the skills are useful in daily life.  

Bacteria causing gingivitis in the mouth can be reduced by making use of an antibacterial toothpaste or mouthwash.  

3. May Reduce Heart Disease Risk 

Chronic inflammation caused by gum disease has been linked to cardiovascular problems like strokes, blood vessel blockages, and heart disease.  

Experts in the field of health stop short of stating that a cause-and-effect exists between gum disease and such serious health issues, however, numerous studies show this link. These studies’ findings may indicate that maintaining a sound oral health can contribute to protecting overall health.  

4. Reduces Risks of Inflammation and Infection in the Body 

There is a link between poor oral health and infection development in other areas of the body. Through research, an association has been found between rheumatoid arthritis and gum disease. Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease causing inflammation of joints. According to experts, the mechanism of connective tissue destruction is similar in gum disease as well as RA.  

A good oral hygiene, routine dentist visits, and taking a balanced diet helps in decreasing the risks of gum disease and tooth decay. Ensure that once a day, you use an antiseptic mouthwash, and brush twice every day. 

5. Helps in Keeping Blood Sugar Stable for Diabetics 

Gum disease is often a problem for people having uncontrolled diabetes. Diabetes can reduce the ability of fighting off infection that include gum infections which can result in serious gum disease.  

Moreover, according to some experts, individuals with diabetes have higher likelihood of developing more severe gum issues compared to the ones without diabetes.  

6. Helps Pregnant Women in Carrying Baby to Term 

Women may face heightened gingivitis during pregnancy. According to some research, there is a link between gum disease and low-birthweight, preterm infants.  

Although a solid link has not been found by all the studies, it is best to maintain a sound oral health. Pregnant women should visit their periodontist or dentist as part of their prenatal care. Trying to maintain good oral health is also a good practice considering the role modeling lying ahead for new parents.  


Practicing Healthy Dental Hygiene Habits 

Considering the strong association between dental hygiene and health, it is important to prioritize good dental hygiene. Here are some important habits we all should cultivate: 

  • Brush twice a day at the least. Use a toothpaste approved by the American Dental Association (ADA) and a toothbrush with soft bristles. Your dentist might recommend you a particular brand of toothpaste and toothbrush for your use. 
  • Floss once a day at the least. Floss string is available in different widths and in waxed as well as un-waxed forms. Flavored versions are also available.  
  • Eat a healthy diet. We all know that sugar consumption should be limited. However, increasing evidence suggests that even simple starches are harmful to teeth. Good nutrition is provided by food items like whole grains, reduced-fat dairy products, raw vegetables and fruits, and lean protein.  
  • Avoid all forms of tobacco. Smoking can not only threaten lungs but also can have extreme adverse effects on the gums and teeth. Your dentist may prescribe you medications helpful in kicking the habit.  
  • Limit the consumption of alcoholic drinks. Alcohol can lead to the erosion of the protective enamel around teeth. Alcohol can also deprive your system of the essential nutrients necessary for keeping teeth strong.  
  • Visit your dentist for checkups and cleanings at regular intervals. This is important to catch any issues before they become serious.  


Summing Up 

After knowing the importance of dental hygiene and how oral hygiene affects overall health, it’s important to adopt healthy habits that promote a sound oral health, and go for regular dentist visits. 

Des Moines Dental Group can help you maintain a good oral health with expert dental hygiene services. Our dental hygienist would clean your teeth, examine your mouth thoroughly and offer solutions if any issues are found. We would also guide you on what steps to take to maintain good dental hygiene. Schedule an appointment online or call one of our dental offices at Airport and Urbandale!  

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