Hospital offers tips on oral health

Good oral health is important to your overall health – a fact that is often overlooked. But when you think about it, the mouth is the gateway to the body, making oral health a significant player in your overall well-being.

The mouth is filled with countless bacteria, most of which are harmless. With daily brushing and flossing, the body’s defenses can fight and control those bacteria. Without proper oral care however, the bacteria can cause oral infections that affect the teeth, gums, palate, tongue, lips and inside of the cheeks.

The American Dental Association recommends seeing a dentist if you notice any of the following signs:

  • Gums      that bleed during brushing and flossing
  • Red,      swollen or tender gums
  • Gums      that have pulled away from your teeth
  • Persistent      bad breath
  • Pus      between your teeth and gums
  • Loose      or separating teeth
  • A      change in the way your teeth fit together when you bite
  • A      change in the fit of partial dentures

General guidelines for good oral hygiene include brushing teeth thoroughly at least twice a day, flossing daily, replacing toothbrushes every three or four months, and scheduling regular dental check-ups. Daily preventative care can stop problems before they even develop.

The mouth can show signs of nutritional deficiencies or general infection, including systemic diseases. Oral health may affect or contribute to diseases and conditions including but not limited to:

  • Cardiovascular disease – research      suggests that chronic inflammation from gum disease may be linked to heart      disease, clogged arteries and stroke.
  • Pregnancy health – research      suggests a relationship between gum disease and pre-term, low-birth-weight      infants.
  • Diabetes – uncontrolled diabetes      puts the body at risk for gum disease. Research shows that people with      diabetes are more likely to have severe gum problems and have a harder      time controlling their blood sugar levels.
  • Inflammation – poor oral health is associated with the      development of infection in other parts of the body.
  • Memory – research suggests that people with swollen, bleeding      gums perform worse on tests of memory and other cognitive skills than      those with healthy gums.
  • HIV/AIDS – people with HIV/AIDS are more likely to experience      oral problems, such as painful mucosal lesions.

It’s never too early to teach proper oral care to children. Practicing good oral care at a young age can positively impact children’s health in adulthood.




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