When you brush your teeth, do you ever think that sudsy, back-and-forth motion could be saving your life? Maybe that’s overstating the case, but not by as much as you might think. What you do to maintain your oral health has lasting effects on your overall health. Ignore your oral health, and you might be in for serious problems.
Despite how dire this warning may sound, there’s an easy fix. Create a simple routine for maintaining your oral health and stick to it, and you won’t have to worry about problems with your mouth—other than putting your foot in it. Learn the best at-home dental hygiene techniques during your general dentistry service in Rogers, Arkansas.
Common Problems Maintaining Your Oral Health
If you have difficulty maintaining your oral health, you’ll run into two problems quickly: tooth decay and gum infection. Both are the by-product of the bacteria that live in your mouth. If you weren’t already aware, your mouth plays host to hundreds of strains of bacteria.
Most of these bacteria don’t do much; some are even helpful. There are a few troublemakers, though, that thrive on the sugars and starches found in food. As they eat their fill, they produce small amounts of acid as a by-product. When plaque—a sticky film made up of saliva, food, and bacteria—begins to build up on your teeth, acid levels become concentrated enough to start eating away at your teeth. This is the start of tooth decay. If left unchecked, it can lead to tooth pain, the formation of cavities, abscess in the gums, and, eventually, tooth loss.
When plaque begins to build up along your gum line, it provides a perfect place for additional bacteria to accumulate and cause infection. Initially, it’s known as gingivitis, which can produce bad breath, receding and bleeding gums, and loose teeth, among other issues. If the infection worsens, it can become periodontitis, which can destroy the soft tissue and bone in your jaw that holds your teeth in place, leading to tooth loss.
Not maintaining your oral health can lead to serious conditions. Did you know your saliva helps keep you from getting sick? Healthy saliva contains antibodies that help fight everything from the common cold to HIV. It also prevents certain funguses from running amok in your mouth, which can lead to a condition called oral thrush. On top of that, it can fight off disease-causing bacteria. It turns out your spit is pretty useful stuff.
However, plaque build-up can stop it in its useful course. If the growth of bacteria is left unchecked, your saliva won’t be able to handle the excess of potential problems. Oral bacteria entering the bloodstream isn’t usually a problem, as the body’s immune system makes short work of it. But for people with weakened immune systems, like diabetes or HIV patients, an infection in your mouth may be able to spread to another part of your body.
Some studies indicate a correlation between poor oral hygiene and severe problems outside the mouth, including endocarditis, cardiovascular disease, premature birth, and even pneumonia. So how do you avoid all this? By maintaining your oral health.
Maintaining Your Oral Health
By committing to a basic routine of dental hygiene, you’ll save yourself from a host of problems. Plus, you’ll have the kind of eye-catching smile that makes great first impressions. Here’s what that routine should look like:
- Brush: Two minutes twice a day is all it takes to keep plaque from building up. Make sure you’re using a soft-bristled brush and the proper technique.
- Floss: Don’t skip this step. It’s easy to do and doesn’t take any longer than brushing.
- Rinse: Antibacterial and fluoride rinses are readily available wherever dental products are sold. Ask your dentist which one is best for you.
- Checkups: See your dentist twice a year for preventative dentistry services in AR. The right dentist can help ensure your entire mouth is the absolute picture of health.
Marcus Black, DDS
If you’re concerned with maintaining your oral health, let Marcus Black, DDS, put your mind at ease. We provide a full range of dental services, from scheduled cleanings to cosmetic surgery, to the Northwest Arkansas region. To learn more about us or schedule an appointment, call us at 479.464.0900.