C. Everett Koop, MD, the former Surgeon General of the United States was quoted years ago saying, “You’re not healthy unless you have good oral health.” Infections and diseases within the mouth can travel through the tissue and blood and compromise the health of the rest of the body. While your smile depends on simple dental care habits, so does the general health of the rest of your body.
Optimal oral health begins with clean teeth and healthy gums. Keeping the surface of the teeth clean can help to prevent cavities, while keeping the area where your teeth meet your gums can prevent periodontal disease (gum disease). Brushing and flossing are essential to maintaining optimal oral health. Brushing should be done at least twice a day, once in the morning and once before going to bed. Using a fluoride tooth paste and a soft-bristled brush help to remove plaque from the teeth.
Keeping your toothbrush clean between uses will prevent bacteria from building up on the toothbrush and entering the mouth. Brushing alone, though, will not remove all of the plaque within the mouth. Toothbrushes can not reach the tight spaces between the teeth and under the gum line. Flossing is the only way to clean these areas. By flossing daily, you help to eliminate plaque build up between the teeth. Not only does this promote optimal oral health, but it also makes visits to the dentist’s office much more enjoyable.
These two simply steps should be a part of your daily routine. Practicing good oral hygiene at home plus visiting the dentist at least once a year is the best way to achieve optimal oral health. Many diseases begin with the mouth – obesity and periodontal disease may be obvious, but diabetes and heart disease can also be caused by poor oral health. By taking care of your mouth, you are taking care of your entire body.
Posted on behalf of Dr. Byron Scott, Springhill Dental Health Center
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