Chances are you’ve known about the importance of good oral hygiene since you were first introduced to a toothbrush as a young child. We all understand that brushing our teeth should be a part of our daily routine, but the benefits of good oral hygiene go far beyond fresh breath and a pretty smile.
Your teeth play a vital role in your life. They allow you to speak clearly, chew nutritious foods, and convey your emotions through facial expressions. All these things impact your quality of life, influencing how you perform at school, work, or in social situations.
If these aren’t reasons to brush up on your oral hygiene habits, here are a few more benefits of taking good care of your teeth.
Benefits of Good Oral Hygiene
You can prevent many oral health problems before they start by taking good care of your teeth and gums. By staying on top of your oral hygiene, you can:
- Reduce Your Risk for Decay: When you don’t clean your teeth, you’re leaving your mouth prone to plaque and bacteria. Over time, the harmful build-up can lead to decay and cavities — tiny holes that form on the hard surface of teeth. Practicing good oral hygiene is the best way to eliminate the plaque that causes tooth decay.
- Keep Gums Healthy: Gum disease begins when plaque builds up along and under your gum line. As gum disease progresses, the supporting bone is destroyed and your teeth may shift, loosen or even fall out. The good news is that most mild forms of gum disease can be resolved with diligent brushing and flossing.
- Prevent Tooth Loss: Tooth loss commonly occurs as a result of tooth decay and gum disease, both of which can be prevented with good brushing and flossing. With good daily oral health habits, you can keep your natural teeth for a lifetime and avoid the need for dentures or implants.
- Support Your Total Body Health: There is a strong link between oral health and overall health. Research shows that dental problems such as gum disease and tooth decay can contribute to several health conditions, including heart disease, diabetes and premature births — to name a few. Prioritizing your oral hygiene not only supports your mouth, but it also helps keep your whole body healthy.
- Improve Self-Confidence: Beautiful teeth can also have a significant impact on your self-esteem. You are more likely to smile, and you gain greater confidence in your social life, career and relationships. On the other hand, if your teeth are unhealthy, you may be reluctant to smile or show them off in public.
Tips to Keep Your Teeth Healthy
The good news is that taking care of your teeth and gums isn’t difficult. The following oral health care tips can help keep dental problems at bay.
- Brush your teeth twice a day: Brush in the morning and at night for at least two minutes with fluoride toothpaste. Use a soft-bristled toothbrush and remember to replace it when the bristles are worn down.
- Floss at least once a day: Floss gently between each tooth to remove hard-to-reach plaque that builds up along the gum line.
- Eat a balanced diet: Drink plenty of water and eat a variety of nutritious foods, such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and low-fat dairy. Limit sugar-laden foods, especially sticky treats like candies or toffees, and avoid frequent snacking.
- Avoid smoking and tobacco use: People who use cigarettes and other tobacco products are at a much greater risk for oral infections and general health problems.
- Visit your dentist regularly: During these routine visits, your dentist will clean and examine your teeth and mouth, look for any issues and offer guidance on how to reduce or treat oral health conditions.
Always notify your dentist if you experience changes in your teeth or gums, including:
- Gums that bleed easily
- Chronic bad breath
- Loose teeth
- Receding gums
- Sores in the mouth that won’t go away
- Tooth pain
Bottom line: Good oral hygiene is a vital part of your health. By taking care of your teeth and gums, you can reduce your risk of future diseases, save yourself time and money, and preserve your natural, beautiful smile for many years to come.