October is more than just the spookiest month of the year. It’s also National Dental Hygiene Month! The best way to celebrate, even in this month filled with candy, is to practice regular brushing, flossing, and scheduling a dental checkup in Oklahoma City. These habits will keep your mouth clean, but did you know there are other benefits as well? Continue reading as we discuss four of them.
1. Fresh Breath
Brushing and flossing every day helps get rid of harmful bacteria in your mouth that contribute to bad breath. Don’t forget to brush your tongue too, as bacteria love to build up there as well as on your teeth and gums. It also never hurts to add mouthwash to your oral hygiene regimen. Mouthwash can clean the soft tissues in your mouth that your toothbrush and floss simply can’t reach.
2. Lower Risk of Tooth Decay
If you forgo brushing and flossing, bacteria in plaque will remain and eat away at your enamel, or the outermost layer of your teeth. They can eventually create holes in the enamel and reach the sensitive layers within, causing serious toothaches and even infections. If these infections get severe enough, you might need a root canal or even a tooth extraction! Brushing and flossing every day, as well as booking a biannual teeth cleaning in Oklahoma City, should be enough to allow you to keep your natural teeth for years to come.
3. Less Chance of Gum Disease
Another consequence of not having adequate oral hygiene is an increased risk of gum disease. Plaque accumulates on your gum tissue and causes an infection, unless you brush and floss regularly. Gum disease can cause bleeding or red gums, bad breath, and even tooth loss if left untreated.
4. Reduced Risk of Other Health Problems
Poor oral hygiene and gum disease in particular have been linked to multiple other health issues, such as:
- Diabetes: As gum disease develops, blood sugar levels rise, ultimately contributing to diabetes. If you already have diabetes, or if you’re at risk for the condition, it’s extra important to diligently brush and floss.
- Lung disease: Studies have shown that as the gums become inflamed, bacteria can then be breathed directly into the lungs and cause an infection that could lead to bronchitis and pneumonia.
- Alzheimer’s: One study found a strain of bacteria commonly associated with gum disease also appeared in the brain tissue of Alzheimer’s patients, suggesting it traveled through the bloodstream to reach the brain and wreak havoc.
- Heart disease: Research has shown that people with poor oral hygiene are more likely to suffer from heart attacks and strokes. The most common theory between this connection is that bacteria in the mouth set off a chain reaction of inflammation throughout the body, leading to the heart.
Now you can see why it’s so important to celebrate National Dental Hygiene Month not just in October, but year-round. Stick to a regular routine of brushing, flossing, and dental checkups twice a year, and you should be good to go!
About the Author
Dr. Joe Isaacson is a dentist in Oklahoma City who earned his dental degree in 1993 from the University of Oklahoma College of Dentistry. He opened his own private practice later that same year. He strives to create long-lasting relationships with each and every one of his patients. To learn more, or to schedule a teeth cleaning in Oklahoma City, click here or call (405) 943-8575.