by Tracey Pollack
If twice-a-day brushing, daily flossing and regular trips to the dentist seem like a lot to swallow, it turns out that the benefits of having a healthy smile can go far beyond your mouth. While dentists have long advised that taking care of your teeth and gums can keep your smile healthy, now research reveals that good oral hygiene may also be good for your appearance, self-esteem, relationships, career, your body and even your mind! Now, let’s examine all of the reasons why dental health is a bright idea.
Just What the Doctor Ordered
Did you know that a healthy mouth can lead to a healthy body? According to the Academy of General Dentistry, there is a direct relationship between gum disease and many serious medical conditions, such as heart disease, stroke, diabetes and respiratory problems like pneumonia. Plus, pregnant women that suffer from gum disease have a higher risk of premature labor and low birth-weight babies. That’s because when you don’t take care of your teeth and gums, bacteria can accumulate in your mouth and enter your bloodstream. These bacteria can spread throughout your body, causing infections and inflammation that can contribute to major diseases.
Keep Dental Health in Mind
Another reason that good oral hygiene is a good idea? New research suggests that people with gum disease have a higher risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease. Blame it on the bacteria that builds up in your mouth due to poor oral hygiene. Once the bacteria enters your bloodstream, it has the potential to reach your brain and cause the release of excess chemicals that kill nerve cells, which can result in memory loss and eventually Alzheimer’s disease. If you thought that dental health just didn’t matter, this research should change your mind.
An Appearance that Makes You Smile
Face it…tooth decay, gum disease and tooth loss aren’t pretty. Tooth decay can leave your teeth looking dull and misshapen. Gum disease can cause your gums to be red and swollen. And tooth loss can make your face look gaunt and older. Along with affecting the way you look, these also diminish the way you feel by shattering your self-esteem and making you self-conscious about your smile. But good oral hygiene can help prevent all of these problems making you look and feel so bad. If you care about your appearance, you’ll want to take care of your teeth and gums.
Better Breath Makes a Better Impression
Let’s clear the air about bad breath. Along with being embarrassing for you, it’s unpleasant for those around you—it can even foul up your career and romantic relationships! But before you blame it on too much garlic, studies show that most cases of bad breath begin in your mouth and not on your plate. The main culprits are cavities, gum disease, cracked fillings, dirty dentures and food stuck in your teeth. Yet these all can be avoided with better oral hygiene. That means brushing after meals, flossing daily, taking care of dental appliances and regular trips to the dentist. With better oral hygiene, you can make a clean break from bad breath.
Once you chew on these dental discoveries, it’s clear that regular dental care offers more than meets they eye.