Did you know that your oral health is linked to your overall health? Taking care of your teeth is important to not only prevent bad breath and cavities, but it can prevent problems such as heart disease, stroke, diabetes and many more. Despite the effects of poor dental hygiene on bodies, studies have shown that less than half of all Americans floss on a daily basis and 34 percent do not visit a dentist biannually (Spector, 2012). Your mouth is the gateway to your body and is a good reflection of your overall health.
A large variety of viruses and diseases present themselves with signs and symptoms that occur in the mouth. Some of these include the herpes virus, HIV/AIDS, diabetes, HPV, and several autoimmune diseases. Some of the symptoms to worry about include: swollen or bleeding gums, tooth pain, ulcers, dry mouth, bad breath, metallic taste or permanently stained teeth. It was recently found that up to 91 percent of patients with heart disease have periodontitis, compared to 66 percent of people with no heart disease (Barker, 2012). It has also been found that expectant mothers with poor dental hygiene are up to seven times more likely to deliver premature and low birth weight babies (Spector, 2012).
Your body can also affect your mouth, just as your mouth affects your body. Unhealthy diet, smoking, and excess weight can lead to oral health issues such as: bad breath, increased plaque and tartar on teeth, gum disease, tooth loss or oral cancer.
To improve your dental and overall health, The American Dental Association recommends that you brush your teeth two times per day with fluoride toothpaste, replace your toothbrush every three to four months, floss daily, eat a balanced diet and schedule regular dental checkups for professional cleanings and oral exams.