good oral hygiene routine | tips for good oral hygiene

Why a Good Oral Hygiene Routine is So Critical

First impressions are formed in a split second and your smile is a big part of that impression. For this reason, it’s important you present the best image possible, whether it’s in your personal or professional life.

A good oral hygiene routine is the foundation that will help make those first impressions the best they can be. It’s easy to neglect the basics when life gets busy, but the results of such neglect can have serious consequences.

In this article, we will discuss what makes up a good oral hygiene routine and why it’s critical to both your dental health and your overall physical health. We will also provide some tips that can help you keep your teeth as healthy as possible. 

Oral Hygiene Defined

Oral hygiene simply means keeping the mouth clean and free of disease. The path to achieving optimal oral hygiene rests on consistent preventative actions like brushing and flossing. It also includes twice-yearly (or more if your dentist recommends it) dental exams and cleanings

Once you have the tools you need, it’s important to put them into action every day. Your dentist can’t keep your teeth healthy without you working hard at home on your own as well. Even with cleanings, x-rays, and dental scans, the daily work is up to you. It is possible to negatively affect your overall health by neglecting your teeth. And remember, if you are a parent, you are setting an example with your oral hygiene routine, either good or bad. 

The Relationship Between Oral Health and Overall Health

There is a synergistic relationship between your teeth and the rest of your body. Consistent neglect of your teeth will have a direct impact on your overall health and many physical diseases can affect your teeth, too. 

The foundation of controlling this interplay between your teeth and the rest of your body is to remove bacteria from your mouth by brushing and flossing. Without those daily actions, the bacteria enter your gums and the results are periodontitis (gum disease) and a lower resistance to infection in general. If you already suffer from diseases like diabetes or HIV/AIDS, this lower resistance can be deadly.

Other conditions that can be caused by poor oral health:

  • Cardiovascular disease: Uncontrolled bacteria in the mouth has been linked to clogged arteries, heart disease, and stroke.
  • Endocarditis: This infection happens when bacteria travels from your mouth to your heart. It affects and severely inflames the lining of the heart or valves.
  • Pregnancy and birth complications: Gum disease has been linked to low birth weight and premature birth.
  • Pneumonia:  Respiratory diseases like pneumonia can be caused by bacteria traveling from your mouth.

In reverse, some existing diseases can also affect your oral health:

  • Diabetes: Those who have diabetes have a higher incidence of gum disease.
  • Osteoporosis: This disease can worsen periodontal bone loss and tooth loss. 
  • Alzheimer’s disease: Patients experience worsening oral health as the disease progresses.

Eating disorders, rheumatoid arthritis, various kinds of cancers, and an immune system disorder called Sjogren’s syndrome that causes dry mouth are also linked to oral health. 

Oral health and overall health work in tandem, which is why your daily oral hygiene program is so important. Read on to learn how the medications you may be taking for physical conditions can also affect your teeth.

The Effects of Medication on Oral Health

If you are suffering from a disease like diabetes, a heart condition, or another systemic disease, you probably take medication to control it. Your dentist needs to know what those medications are as well as any changes to the medication. 

An example of the importance of everyone being informed is the use of medication that reduces the saliva produced in your mouth. There are over 400 medications (including antidepressants) that can lead to xerostomia, which is dry mouth. Some examples include diuretics, antihistamines, blood pressure medication, prescriptions to control Parkinson’s disease, and inhalers.

Saliva has a very specific purpose in your mouth. It is a natural cleanser that washes away food and neutralizes acids left by bacteria. This process protects your body from microbes multiplying in your mouth and then entering your body to cause or worsen systemic diseases.

If you are taking a medicine that is affecting your dental health, the dentist may want your primary care doctor to adjust the dosage of the medication. Or it may be possible to change the drug to one that doesn’t risk your dental health.

If the doctor can’t change the medication, discuss ways to protect your teeth with your dentist.

Tips For a Good Oral Hygiene Routine

As we have seen, there are many negative consequences for your overall physical health if you neglect your dental hygiene consistently. Here are some tips to keep in mind for good oral hygiene practices:

  • A minimum of twice-daily brushing for two minutes each time with a soft-bristled brush and fluoride toothpaste.
  • A new toothbrush every three to four months, more often if the bristles are worn.
  • Daily brushing of your tongue.
  • Once daily flossing.
  • Use an antibacterial mouthwash to remove bits of food left after brushing and flossing.
  • A well-balanced diet that includes fruits, vegetables, protein, and fiber with a limit on sugar intake.
  • Regular dental checkups and cleanings.
  • No tobacco use.
  • Limit acidic drinks, like coffee and soda, that destroy tooth enamel.
  • Use of a custom mouthguard during sports play.
  • Keeping foreign objects like pencils, pens, and similar items out of the mouth. 
  • Keeping your dentist informed of all dental and physical health issues. 

Maintain Effective Oral Hygiene Habits For Life

An effective, consistent oral hygiene regimen has positive effects on your mouth and teeth as well as your entire body. As you can see, poor oral health has negative consequences on your overall physical health as well. Some diseases like diabetes and Alzheimer’s can result in negative effects on your teeth and mouth, too.

But, follow the suggestions outlined in this article to keep your oral hygiene as good as possible and put you on a healthy path for life.

All Smiles Dentistry is the trusted dental team to help you keep your teeth and gums as healthy as possible and meet all of your family’s oral health needs. From routine dental cleanings and exams to more in-depth restorative dentistry, we’ve got you covered.

Contact us today to schedule an appointment!

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