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October 2017


Why Is Oral Hygiene So Important?

By | Oral Hygiene

Good Oral Hygiene Means Better Overall Health

When most people think of brushing and flossing, they think about preventing cavities and keeping fresh breath.  Proper oral hygiene is about more than clean teeth and fresh breath; it is one of the best ways to help maintain good overall health.

Better Nutrition

If you think about it, the mouth is the gateway to the entire body. Your teeth are necessary to grind, tear, and prepare food for digestion.  Practicing good oral hygiene habits helps maintain lasting durability and function of your teeth.  Poor habits can lead to tooth pain, cavities, tooth loss, and inflamed or bleeding gums.  These hinder your ability to eat and digest foods properly.

Total Body Health

Science continues to find links between oral health and overall systemic health:

  • Women with gum disease show a greater incidence of pre-term, low-birth-weight babies
  • People with poor oral hygiene show an increased risk of developing heart disease
  • Studies from shown that infections of the mouth can be a serious risk to major organs
  • Problems chewing can lead to intestinal failure, irritable bowel syndrome, and other digestive disorders

Good oral hygiene is everything you do to keep your mouth, teeth and especially your gums healthy. Keeping your mouth healthy means more than brushing once a day.  To maintain good oral hygiene at home a dentist will recommend you:

  • Brushing thoroughly at least twice a day
  •  Flossing at least once a day will help reduce plaque
  • Using fluoride containing mouthwash

Brushing and flossing eliminate plaque

Routine brushing and flossing help to prevent the growth of plaque on your teeth.  If you don’t brush and floss regularly to keep your teeth clean, plaque can build up along your gums.  This creates inflammation and pockets for additional bacteria to accumulate in the space between your gums and your teeth. When this pocket becomes infected, it is known as gingivitis. The first sign of this is bleeding gums when you floss.  If you never floss, you probably will not know you have gingivitis.  If this infection is not treated, it can lead to a more serious gum infection called periodontitis.  So please practice good oral hygiene.

Dental Cleanings

Having your teeth cleaned regularly at the dentist is not only about having a beautiful confident smile.  It is also about the systemic health of your body.  Everything that you eat and drink goes through your mouth.  If you have a dirty mouth, an infection, or gum disease; those germs are carried into your body.

Germs can then get into your blood.  Once there, they invade every part of your body.  Medical studies have shown that poor oral health can lead to serious health concerns.  Such as Heart Disease, Stroke, Alzheimer’s, Diabetes, and even Cancer to just name a few.

So Please, go see a dentist for a checkup and cleaning on a regular schedule.  This will help to ensure you have good oral health and maintain the teeth you want to keep.  You still need to do YOUR part.  You should at least floss your teeth once a day and brush them twice a day.

Regular teeth cleanings at a dentist

A Registered Dental Hygienist (RDH) go through difficult schooling to learn how to protect and clean your teeth.  The average RDH goes to college for 3 years and takes continuing education classes every year to learn the newest things and brush up on the old teachings.

The dental office has the technology to do the best job.  For instance, “Cool Mint Listerine™” mouthwash will leave a slight blue stain on your teeth that neither normal brushing and flossing remove.  Only a professional cleaning will get that stain off.  Depending on the sensitivity of the patient, the RDH will use either a manual or ultrasonic tool to remove the stain.

During a dental cleaning, the Hygienist will remove stains & plaque that have built up.  They will look for cavities; maybe using a DiagnoDent™, pictured below.  This device sends light through the tooth.  Natural teeth are porous and allow the light to pass through them.  It then measures the lights fluorescence.  If there is decay (a cavity) the amount of measured fluorescence will increase proportionally to the amount of decay.  Therefore, if there is a cavity the amount of fluorescence measured will be high.

They might also inspect the soft tissue for abnormalities.  This can be done visually using a VELscope®.  This screening system consists of a specialized fluorescent blue light and viewing scope that make it easier to look closely at the soft tissues inside your mouth. Normal tissues will glow a bright green and the abnormal tissue does not fluoresce and appears black.  See the picture below.

One more tool they may use is an Intra-Oral Camera.  The equipment is pen-shaped and shows the patient what the hygienist or doctor see.  A picture is worth a thousand words.


Building A Compelling Case For Good Oral Hygiene

If you didn’t already have enough reasons to take excellent care of your mouth, teeth, and gums, the relationship between your oral health and your overall health provides even more. I hope this blog convinces you to practice good oral hygiene every day. You’re making an investment in your overall health, not just for now, but for the future, too.

Good Health to All and Keep Smiling!

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