Dr. Jenny Kabir has some news for you. You aren’t healthy if your mouth isn’t healthy.
How often do you think about your dental health? The World Health Organisation claims that nearly 100% of adults have a dental cavity! This staggering figure demonstrates our susceptibility to dental decay. Having good dental health can contribute to your overall health and well being. Here we will tell you how having a healthy mouth means being a healthy man too, and what you can do to take care of those pearly whites!
Why should I take care of my teeth?
Firstly, taking care of your teeth should be a priority. Poor oral hygiene practices (not brushing or flossing) can lead to many problems. Some of the most common problems are dental cavities (small holes in the teeth), gum disease and eventual tooth loss. If these problems occur you need to go to your dentist as soon as possible. Ideally, well before in order to prevent such problems.
However, beyond these dental health problems, not taking care of your teeth and can lead to many more health issues within the body. Your mouth is the entrance to your whole body; whatever happens in there can have a knock-on effect elsewhere. The mouth can be a window to indicate disease in the rest of your body, which can often be picked up early during the course of a routine dental check up. Some research suggests that heart disease, respiratory infections and strokes could all be affected by poor oral health. Therefore, taking proper care of your teeth means that you are also taking care of your overall health.
How can I take care of my teeth?
Taking care of your teeth can be really simple if you have self-discipline and commit to certain routines. The first thing you need to do is make sure your oral hygiene habits are regular, and being done with the right products. This means brushing twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste. Fluoride is a mineral which can help to prevent tooth decay as it actively strengthens tooth enamel, therefore decreasing the likelihood of tooth decay. Flossing is, if anything, more important than brushing. This is because floss is able to get in between teeth and remove bacteria close to the line of your gum, which your toothbrush cannot reach. This is particularly important for your gums as the food stuck here can cause problems.
The second important factor for taking care of your teeth is watching what you eat and drink. We all know that sugar is bad for our teeth, but did you know that the number of times you consume sugar in a day has a greater impact on your teeth than the amount of actual sugar you consume? This is because when you eat sugar throughout the day, the bacteria which interacts with sugar has longer to produce the acids which attack your teeth. On the other hand, if you eat your sugar at one point in the day, such as after your main meal, then the saliva that is built up in your mouth from eating will help to wash away the sugars and food debris. If you brush some point not too long after your meal, then you can remove the sugar from your teeth and greatly reduce the risk of tooth decay. If you simply have to snack between meals, then sugar-free snacks such as carrot sticks, cucumber and cheese are excellent options from a dental perspective.
As well as watching out for foods that we know are high in sugar, it’s equally important to watch out for food and drink which you may not realise are high in sugar. Sports drinks, juices, sauces and even bread may contain more sugar than you realise. A packet of crisps might seem like a sugar-free snack, but it is still one of the worst things that you can do to your teeth. This is because flavoured crisps are often fermentable carbohydrates, meaning that they’ll break down into sugars in your mouth. Worse still, some of these foods can get stuck between your teeth and remain there for hours, all the while fueling the production of acids. As we’ve said before, snacking throughout the day as this is one of the worst things you can do for your teeth. Rinse your mouth out with water after having these foods as this can help to remove any sugar remaining on your teeth.
Another factor to consider when taking care of teeth is tobacco. Beyond the bad breath and staining of your teeth, smoking or chewing tobacco can have a dramatic effect on your oral health as well. Smoking can increase the likelihood of gum disease as your immune system is weaker, therefore struggles to fight off infections. Both food and tobacco have negative effects on your teeth, just as they do in your body as well. Limiting sugar and tobacco will help not only your oral health but your overall health as well.
Finally, one of the main things you can do to ensure your teeth are healthy is to regularly visit your dentist. Don’t wait until you have a problem or feel pain as by then it might be too late. Book an appointment for a checkup and let the dentist examine your mouth to spot any problems before they become bigger issues for your health.
Photo credit: Getty Images