Not Going to the Dentist Is Not an Option (via @HuffingtonPost)

8 Jul

Dentist

Regular dental check-ups tend to fall off the to do list of many an adult. But good dental health is not only about the whiteness of your smile, the pink of your gums and the freshness of your breath, but also about your overall health.

Crazy? Think again. According to a University of North Carolina School of Dentistry analysis of 1,000-plus medical records, “People with gum disease were twice as likelyas others to die from a heart attack and three times as likely to have a stroke.”

In addition to going for regular dental check-ups, here are six things you might not already be doing that you can do to ensure healthier teeth and gums:

Replace your toothbrush often. The bristles of your toothbrush contain bacteria. Be sure to replace your toothbrush at least once every three to four months, and after every cold.

A proper nighttime routine leads to better teeth and morning breath.Proper nighttime oral hygiene is the most basic, but helpful, tool in the fight against morning breath. Brushing and flossing help remove the food particles that the bacteria use as fuel during the night… brush your tongue to get to the particles and bacteria that can build up within its surface, particularly towards the back of the tongue. Using a non alcohol-based mouthwash (because alcohol will dry out your mouth) will further break down the food particles.”

Don’t brush too quickly after eating.  Acidic food and beverages erode your tooth enamel. When you brush your teeth immediately following a meal that includes these types of food or beverage, you are brushing the acid into your teeth. Rinse your mouth with water and then wait at least 30 minutes before brushing.

Here’s why you should be flossing and brushing twice a day:

Bad oral health puts you at higher risk of cardiovascular disease. There is research that links periodontal disease to a higher risk of heart disease and stroke. One thought is that “…the bacteria that cause periodontal disease can release toxins into or travel through the bloodstream and help to form fatty plaques in the arteries. These plaque deposits can lead to serious problems, such as blood clots, which can block blood flow.” Endocarditis, an infection of the inner lining of the heart, “…occurs when bacteria… from… your mouth, spread through your bloodstream and attach to damaged areas in your heart.

Diabetics need to be even more vigilant about dental health. Because diabetes increases the body’s resistance to infection, the gums are more vulnerable to health problems. “Daily brushing and flossing, regular dental check-ups and good blood glucose control are the best defense against the oral complications of diabetes.”

Alzheimer’s may be connected to periodontal disease. Staying on top of your dental health decreases your need for invasive dental work. Invasive dental work increases the chance that bacteria released from your mouth could enter your bloodstream and then your brain. “Researchers from the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) in the UK, discovered the presence of a bacterium called Porphyromonas gingivalis in the brains of patients who had dementia when they were alive. The bug is usually associated with chronic periodontal (gum) disease.”

Source: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/ashley-wren-collins/not-going-to-the-dentist-_b_7701744.html

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