June is an important month – it has Father’s Day, the beginning of summer, graduations, and more. But did you know that June is also Oral Health Awareness Month? While you should be proactive about your oral health year-round, it’s important to take a month to focus on it and why it’s so important. A dentist in Sarasota is here to talk more about why oral health matters.
Why Is Oral Health Important?
The health of your mouth is actually linked to the health of the rest of your body. A cavity or two here and there won’t necessarily spell disaster, but neglecting oral health care habits over time can be dangerous. This is because your mouth is the main entry point into your respiratory and digestive tracts. When bacteria in plaque build up as a result of poor oral hygiene, they can travel through your bloodstream to the rest of your body and cause problems.
What Happens If I Don’t Take Care of My Oral Health?
Many health problems have been linked to poor oral hygiene besides the ones you might immediately think of, like tooth decay and gum disease. Not properly taking care of your mouth can actually lead to other health issues, such as:
- Cardiovascular disease: Bacteria in the mouth can travel to your heart and harden your arteries, increasing your risk of heart attack and stroke.
- Pneumonia: In addition to your heart, bacteria can settle in your lungs and cause breathing problems.
- Dementia: A recent study found the same bacteria characteristic of gum disease in brain tissue of people with Alzheimer’s, suggesting the bacteria spread to the brain and caused damage.
- Pregnancy and birth complications: Gum disease has been connected to low birth weight and even premature birth.
How Can I Take Better Care of My Oral Health?
Practicing good oral hygiene habits is a great way to prevent health issues like those listed above. Follow these tips to keep your mouth nice and healthy:
- Use a soft-bristled toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste to brush your teeth at least twice a day, if not after every meal.
- Floss at least once per day.
- Use mouthwash after brushing and flossing to remove leftover food particles.
- Limit consumption of sugary foods and beverages.
- Avoid using tobacco.
- Schedule a regular checkup with your dentist every six months to catch any early signs of oral health problems.
The best way to celebrate Oral Health Awareness Month is to start implementing these habits into your daily routine. By taking care of your oral health, you are making a great investment in your overall health.
About the Author
Dr. Shanaka Weerasooriya has earned a Mastery Level status in cosmetic and restorative dentistry from the Spear Institute. He recognizes the importance of having a healthy oral system when it comes to ensuring great overall health. To learn more click here or call (941)-388-4114.