Brushing and flossing regularly can keep your teeth and gums healthy and your smile bright, but good oral hygiene benefits more than just your mouth. When you take care of your teeth and gums, you’re taking care of your whole body.
- Healthier Heart – Flossing keeps your gums healthy, but it can protect your heart as well. People with periodontal disease may have an increased risk of developing heart disease and may double their risk of experiencing a fatal heart attack. Gum disease can also lead to inflammation throughout the body, which is detrimental to your body and heart. On the other hand, healthy gums can contribute to a healthy heart.
- Healthier Pregnancy – Pregnancy can take a toll on a woman’s oral health, and starting off with healthy habits can protect you from the gum disease and increased cavities some pregnant women experience. Poor oral health may also increase your risk of delivering prematurely, so good oral hygiene is important for the health and safety of both you and your unborn baby.
- Improved Diabetes Management – If you have been diagnosed with diabetes, it’s important to know that you may be more prone to gum disease. You should also know that gum disease may affect your diabetes by increasing your insulin resistance. This two-way link between diabetes and gum disease makes it extremely important to maintain healthy oral care habits.
- Early Cancer Detection – Dentists are trained to detect early signs of oral cancer in the gums, lips, tongue and cheeks, so a regular checkup can alert you to a potential problem while it is still in the early stages. Oral cancer can advance quickly, so early detection can be lifesaving.
- Weight Management – Brushing can signal to your brain that you are finished eating, preventing you from snacking once a meal is complete. Brush and floss about 30 minutes after meals to keep your teeth and gums healthy, but also to prevent overeating and mindless snacking between meals.
Dentists recommend that you brush and floss at least twice a day, and that you schedule a cleaning and checkup twice a year. By maintaining good oral hygiene, you protect your teeth as well as your health.