Did you know that keeping your smile healthy plays a big role in your overall health? If you struggle to maintain good oral hygiene habits, bacteria and infection can take over, harming more than just your smile. Now more than ever, having a healthy immune system is critical in the fight against sickness. Our board-certified periodontist, Dr. Lauren Anderson, explains the mouth-body connection and the importance of practicing better oral hygiene to improve overall health and minimize comorbidities associated with periodontal disease.
Understanding the oral-systemic link
It’s often said that the mouth is the gateway to the body, and rightly so. Many things—food, medicine, germs—all first pass through your mouth before entering your body. Not surprisingly, your oral health has close ties to your physical health and immune system. If bacterial plaque is left to harden on the teeth and infect the gum tissue, the protective seal surrounding the tooth roots is broken. Harmful bacteria within the mouth can then travel throughout the body via the bloodstream. Similarly, chronic inflammation caused by oral infection harms systemic health and has been linked to respiratory problems, cardiovascular diseases, and even stroke. If the body’s immune system is already struggling to fight off this inflammation, it becomes more susceptible to other bacteria or viruses. Practicing good oral health habits can prevent this infection and inflammation from developing altogether, leaving your immune system ready to fight against other dangerous invaders.
Start practicing these good oral hygiene habits now
- Brushing twice daily
Brushing your teeth twice a day for at least two minutes helps remove food debris that naturally accumulates when you eat.
- Floss once a day
Flossing removes any food particles stuck between your teeth that your toothbrush usually cannot reach.
- Eat a healthy diet
A diet rich in anti-inflammatory foods (fruit and vegetables), vitamins and minerals helps strengthen your gum tissue and tooth enamel to help prevent decay and infection. Although not directly linked to periodontitis, a low inflammatory diet will only benefit your oral health.
- Visit your dentist regularly
Schedule routine dental cleanings, examinations, and x-rays with your dentist to ensure no disease or decay is present.
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