Although not as widely known as other monthly “celebrations,” National Dental Hygiene Month is just as important. Why? Good dental hygiene is a cornerstone of overall health. Keeping your mouth healthy keeps the rest of your body healthy!
How does good dental hygiene keep you healthy?
There have been numerous studies published recently about the connection between oral health and the rest of the body.
Did you know?
• Seeing your dentist regularly for exams can mean early detection of diabetes. 25.8 million people in the United States currently have a diagnosis for diabetes. It is believed that as many as 7 million have diabetes but the condition is currently undiagnosed. In 2007, 231,404 died of diabetes-related disease. The earlier it’s detected, the faster effective treatments and preventative measures can be implemented. • Regular dental exams can also result in the early detection of oral cancers. Close to 37,000 Americans will be diagnosed with oral or pharyngeal cancer this year. It will cause over 8,000 deaths, killing roughly one person per hour, 24 hours per day. Of those 36,000 newly diagnosed individuals, only slightly more than half will be alive in 5 years (Approximately 57%). • Poor oral health can actually affect female fertility. Researchers recently analyzed information on pregnancy planning and pregnancy outcomes for 3416 women participating in a Western Australian study called SMILE. They found that women with gum disease took two months longer than average to become pregnant — seven months instead of five. • Nutritional deficiencies can at times be seen in the mouth and identified by a qualified dental health provider. • Gum disease, left untreated, can increase the risk of developing breast cancer, coronary artery disease, and strokes. A dentist or dental hygienist can assess your gums’ health and therefore help prevent these dangerous health conditions from occurring.
So, what is the best way to maintain good oral health?
• See your dental professional twice yearly for dental exams and teeth cleaning. • Brush at least twice a day, for a minimum of two minutes, with a fluoride-containing toothpaste. A high-quality electric toothbrush can make a big difference in how well your teeth are cleaned. If you use a manual toothbrush, it’s recommended that you brush three minutes or more. • When you brush, use a soft-bristled brush, and a circular motion to clean teeth. • Floss daily. • Avoid sugary, high-acid, or high-carbohydrate foods that coat the teeth, such as sodas, sugared gum, chewy candies, fruit juices, milk, dried fruit, honey, and even many breakfast cereals. If you choose to consume these products, be sure to brush your teeth 20 minutes after consuming (waiting 20 minutes keeps your tooth enamel from breaking down while brushing).
For more information on maintaining good oral hygiene, or to make an appointment, contact Dr. Kotre’s Ann Arbor dental practice at 734-677-215