There is growing scientific evidence to prove that maintaining oral health is associated with improved overall health. A healthy mouth reduces the risk of developing heart disease and other inflammatory diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis. Moreover, it’s associated with improved self-esteem, confidence and better memory. Brushing your teeth gently, flossing regularly, rinsing immediately after every meal and chewing sugar-free gum, when done daily, are effective ways to keep your mouth in good health.

Are you suffering from memory lapses? Check your mouth. A new study published in the European Journal of Oral Sciences has demonstrated that individuals from all age groups who have fewer natural teeth performed worse than those with more natural teeth on various types of mental exercises. And you thought that taking good care of your oral health would only help ensure a bright white smile.

HEALTHY MOUTH, HEALTHY YOU

The following are ways in which having healthy mouth boosts your overall health:

  • Helps boost your self-confidence – Poor oral hygiene that results in bad breath and an unsightly appearing mouth with decayed teeth and swollen gums can undermine self-confidence and self-esteem. A healthy mouth looks and smells healthy, which makes you, and everyone you smile at, feel good.
  • Reduces the risk of heart disease – Numerous studies have demonstrated a link between unhealthy gums and the occurrence of cardiovascular diseases such as heart attack, stroke and blockage of blood vessels. Maintaining good oral health helps ensure a healthy heart and circulatory system.
  • Maintains your memory – According to a report published in the Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery and Psychiatry, the performance of adults who suffered from gingivitis (gum inflammation) was worse than those with healthy gums on various memory and cognitive skills tests. Remembering to take care of your teeth today plays a role in your memory preservation for the future.

Decreases the risk of disease in other areas of your body – According to research there is link between gingivitis and various autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis. According to experts the way connective tissues are destroyed in rheumatoid arthritis and gingivitis are quite similar. Hence, brushing twice daily and flossing each night are good for your gums as well as your joints.

KEEP YOUR TEETH HEALTHY

  • Brush gently – Brush gently yet thoroughly with a soft toothbrush, as brushing too hard can damage teeth and gums.
  • Floss regularly – Flossing at least once a day is absolutely necessary to clean between teeth and below the gum line.
  • First rinse and then brush – You should wait at least half an hour to brush your teeth after eating a meal because the acid in the mouth is the highest just after you have eaten and at a level that may begin to soften enamel. Brushing too soon after eating may actually wear away layers of enamel.
  • Chew gum – Chewing gum helps stimulate the secretion the saliva, thereby neutralizing some of the acid that naturally results from eating. Be sure to choose gums that contain xylitol, which is a sugar free sweetener and has been shown to prevent tooth decay.

Mounting scientific evidence continues to support that oral health is directly connected to the overall health of your body. Take good care of your teeth and they’ll take good care of you. Neglect them and they’ll make sure you know it.

By Dr. Ritu Goel