Taking good care of your mouth does more than help ensure you have a bright, white smile. Having a healthy mouth and healthy body go hand-in-hand!
Pancreatic Cancer and Heart Disease
Recent studies have linked good oral hygiene with good overall health. Having a healthy mouth can reduce the risk for many serious diseases, including heart disease and pancreatic cancer. The inflammation that is caused by gingivitis and periodontal disease has been linked to these diseases. Bacteria that thrives in the mouth can travel to other parts of the body and can cause infection or worsen existing infections in many areas, including the lungs and joints.
Keeping your gums healthy not only prevents gingivitis and periodontal disease, but it can also help improve your memory, according to the Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery, and Psychiatry. In a study done by the journal, adults who had gingivitis performed worse than those who didn’t on tests of memory and cognitive skills. They were more likely to perform poorly on tests of delayed verbal recall and subtraction – two skills we use everyday!
Diabetes can make you less able to fight off infection, which includes infections of the gums like periodontal disease. And, some experts have linked uncontrolled diabetes with gum disease, suggesting that untreated periodontal disease may make it more difficult to control blood sugar levels. Having a healthy mouth will help you protect your overall health by making it easier to control and maintain your diabetes.
Preterm Delivery and Low-Birth-Weight Babies
Some research suggests a link between gingivitis and preterm, low-birth-weight infants. With 1 in 8 babies born premature, prevention is the key! Maintaining good oral health may help prevent premature delivery. See your dentist as part of your prenatal care. He or she will give you good tips and insight into oral health and a healthy pregnancy.
As you can see, the phrase “healthy mouth, healthy you” really is true and is backed by growing scientific evidence!
A Healthy Mouth, A Healthy Body in Childhood
It’s never too early to start teaching your children to take care of their teeth and gums — healthy habits learned in childhood can pay off in adulthood. And, if you’re tempted to shrug off your good oral hygiene habits — brushing, flossing, and seeing your dentist regularly — remember that you’re a role model for your kids!
The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) recommends taking children to their first dental appointment at three years old, unless a parent has a concern. Just like adults, children should see the dentist every six months for cleanings. These visits set a model of oral hygiene children can live by for the rest of their lives. With more than half the 4 million children born each year developing at least one cavity before second grade, teaching our children the importance of good oral hygiene can not be stressed enough!
Children should begin brushing their own teeth around the age of 6 years old. Until then, parents are encouraged to brush their children’s teeth after their first tooth grows in. Just like adults, teeth should be brushed twice daily and flossed each night. Flossing is necessary to maintaining good home care and should be done when any two of your child’s teeth touch each other.
Maintaining a healthy diet with lots of fruits and vegetables will not only help their growing bodies, but will also help maintain strong healthy teeth!