Oral hygiene plays an extraordinary role in the overall health of the entire body. Preventing cavities, decay, tooth loss, and gum disease are some of the best-known reasons to take care of the mouth, but there are many unexpected reasons as well. Caring for your teeth and gums can prevent disease, improve mood, influence fertility, prevent premature birth, and even free your skin from acne.

Here we will explore what oral hygiene is, the signs and symptoms to look out for, how to improve yours, and the surprising top 10 ways oral hygiene improves your health.

What Is Oral Hygiene?

Close-up of a perfect smile

Oral hygiene refers to taking care of your mouth which includes the teeth, gums, mouth, and breath. Good hygiene is when all the components of the mouth are adequately cleaned and cared for on a regular basis. When the mouth is neglected, the result is deemed bad (or inadequate) oral hygiene.

When the mouth isn’t cared for properly or regularly, it will suffer. Keeping up on good hygiene in the mouth can prevent the formation of the following:

  • Plaque buildup
  • Painful cavities
  • Gum disease
  • Tooth loss
  • Tooth decay
  • Bad breath
  • Bleeding gums
  • Loose permanent teeth
  • Stained teeth

The mouth is one of the most significant parts of the body, and should never be taken for granted. After all, you use your mouth to chew food, communicate with others, and breathe. Eating and breathing are vitally important for living. Communication makes life enjoyable. Smiling with clean, pearly white teeth can positively impact mood and how people react to your presence.  

Taking care of your mouth goes beyond the obvious reasons mentioned above. Doctors, dentists, and scientific researchers agree that good hygiene in the mouth is one of the most important ways you can take care of your entire body. This is because the mouth is home to many bacteria. Some bacteria are harmless, but some bacteria can be very harmful.

When the mouth isn’t cleaned and maintained regularly, a buildup of harmful bacteria can form. If these bacteria spread to other regions of the body, an entire slew of health problems can result.

There are several ways to measure your oral hygiene skills. Your teeth will appear clean without any food in them or dark spots on them. You don’t have persistent bad breath that seems to appear without cause. Your gums are pink in color, and you do not spit blood when cleaning your teeth.

10 Ways Better Oral Hygiene Improves Your Health

woman having dental check up

It seems like every day scientists are finding new ways oral hygiene impacts the health of humans. Keeping the gums, teeth, and mouth healthy can prevent or treat a variety of conditions in the body.

Here we explore 10 ways better oral hygiene can improve your health.

  • 1
    Heart Health

Help your heart by cleaning your teeth, gums, and mouth. Extensive research has shown oral hygiene and heart health are correlated. Long-term inflammation in the body caused by gum disease-causing bacteria may cause the development of endocarditis, heart attacks, hypertension, and an increased risk for strokes. Keeping up with your dental care routine can help prevent cardiovascular problems.

  • 2
    Diabetes Prevention and Diabetes Maintenance

A healthy, well-cared for mouth can prevent diabetes because it helps regulate blood sugar levels. Gum disease has been shown to elevate blood sugar levels. Over time, elevated blood sugar levels can usher in a diabetes diagnosis. One way to prevent diabetes is to take care of your teeth, mouth, and gums.

Diabetics must know of anything that could destabilize blood sugar levels. Dental and mouth hygiene is one way to prevent and control a rise in the body’s blood sugar levels. For disease maintenance, diabetics should take extra care to practice good oral health.

  • 3
    Cancer Prevention

Visiting the dentist could prevent the onset of cancer. Researchers at the University of Helsinki have discovered that the same bacteria responsible for causing gum disease also instigates cancer of the pancreas.

  • 4
    Boosts Fertility

Studies have shown that women who practice good oral hygiene get pregnant faster than those who don’t. Bad oral health, especially gum disease, is linked to fertility issues in women. To boost fertility, start by ensuring your teeth and gums are in good shape.

  • 5
    Safer Pregnancies

Good oral hygiene is linked to the likelihood of a woman carrying a child to full-term. Although gingivitis occurs more frequently for women during pregnancy, it's possible for oral hygiene to create safer pregnancies. Science has observed a connection between gum disease, prematurely born babies, and babies born underweight.

  • 6
    Inflammation Prevention

Inflammation and infection go hand in hand. Good oral hygiene is a way to prevent infection throughout the body. The autoimmune disease rheumatoid arthritis is a condition marked by increased inflammation in the joints. It is also linked to inadequate dental health.

  • 7
    Respiratory Health

Mouth hygiene can keep your lungs healthy. The mouth and the esophagus are connected. When the mouth is filled with harmful bacteria, there is an increased chance for developing a respiratory infection. Both bronchitis and pneumonia are linked to bad bacteria in the mouth. Bacteria can cause repository illness when it is breathed into the lungs. When left unchecked, these bacteria can also cause more damage by entering the bloodstream. Keep the gums and teeth healthy for optimal lung function.

  • 8
    Mental Health

Practicing good oral hygiene impacts not only the body but also the mind. Cavities, pain, decay, and tooth loss can create sleeping problems, headaches, the erosion of confidence, and a persistent, bothersome distraction in daily life. Mental health concerns frequently coexist with unhealthy oral habits. People with dental or gum conditions are less likely to smile which could also contribute to overall happiness levels. When the mouth is healthy, a better life is lived.

  • 9
    Memory Preservation

A clean mouth helps you keep memories. Scientists have linked poor dental health with a decrease in memory function, dementia, and Alzheimer’s disease. In 2013, researchers pinpointed the specific mouth bacteria responsible for contributing to memory loss. This bacteria native to the mouth was found in the brain. Keeping a good mouth-care routine can prevent these bacteria from flourishing in the mouth and therefore prevent its flourishing in the brain where it could influence memory.

  • 10
    Clear Skin

A clean mouth and clear skin go hand-in-hand. Inadequate oral health is linked to breakouts in the skin. Bacteria in the mouth can cause acne breakouts on the face. Practicing good mouth hygiene can help keep the bacteria at bay and keep your skin clear and fresh.

How to Improve Your Oral Hygiene

Regardless of your mouth’s current condition, there are always ways to improve your oral health. Here we will explore the best ways to bring your mind, body, and mouth into a healthier state.

dentist treating her patient

1. Set Up a Dental Appointment 

When seeking to improve dental hygiene, experts always recommend starting with a clean slate. Improving oral hygiene begins with professional help. The dedicated staff at Your Caring Dentist provide everything you need to get your new dental hygiene routine going.

Plaque, cavities, gum issues, and tooth fractures are often undetectable to the untrained eye. A professional cleaning can help remove harmful bacteria from hard-to-reach areas in the mouth. Even in the absence of any dental or gum problems, beginning with a professional cleaning will ensure you have a head start to achieving your dental health goals.

woman brushing teeth

2. Brush Teeth

Brushing your teeth and gums at least two times per day is paramount in keeping your mouth healthy. Brushing is the most effective way to remove bacteria-filled plague from your teeth. Brushing twice per day is the minimum amount of brushing to do. It is better if you can brush about an hour after every meal. Brushing after consuming any sweets or sugary drinks is also a good idea.

dental floss

3. Floss Teeth

Flossing your teeth every day will remove more bacteria and plaque in-between your teeth and inside your gums. Flossing your teeth and brushing are daily activities. The mouth hasn’t been properly cleaned until you’ve flossed. Flossing at night is a good way to prevent any bacteria from settling in overnight.

mouthwash

4. Use Mouthwash

Mouthwash is helpful in killing bacteria in the mouth. Using mouthwash may reduce plaque, tartar, and the chance of developing gingivitis. Some mouthwashes provide whitening. It also helps keep your breath smelling fresh.

woman breaking tobacco

5. Avoid Tobacco and Sugar

Two of the biggest culprits for bad oral hygiene are tobacco and sugar. Both substances cause problems with teeth, gums and the mouth. Tobacco stains teeth and can cause a variety of cancers. Sugar erodes teeth and causes tooth decay. To keep your dental hygiene in the best shape, avoid smoking, other tobacco products, and sugar.

woman eating a carrot

6. Hydrate and Eat Right

Make sure you are drinking enough water throughout the day. Hydration plays a role in keeping your mouth healthy. Eating a balanced diet filled with whole foods can help to prevent tooth decay and gum disease. Drinking plenty of water and eating healthy foods improves the condition of your mouth and body.

Conclusion

Proper oral hygiene contributes to keeping your overall health in check. Scientists are constantly discovering how mouth bacteria play a role in the body’s complete functioning. Following the steps for oral care can help you lead a better life; it could even save your life.

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