By Dennis Lucas, D.M.D. –
Here we are again, or shall I say already; January 1st and time for our New Years resolutions. We all have done it, this year I am going to:
Stop Smoking, Exercise every day, Lose weight, Eat better and Floss everyday.
Wait a minute, did I say floss everyday? What kind of a resolution is that? We are so conditioned to resolve to make changes that may be a direct result of over indulging during the holiday season or change long established bad habits; but why not a fitness program for our mouths?
Our mouths are an amazing part of our bodies. We use them to communicate by speaking and smiling, to fuel ourselves by eating, and to express affection with a kiss. But most people don’t think about how healthy habits and a healthy lifestyle play an important role in our oral hygiene. People who have healthy habits tend to have good dental hygiene habits and people with a healthy lifestyle have an easier time maintaining a healthy mouth.
Good oral health is important to total health
Did you know that your oral health is connected to many other health conditions beyond your mouth? Your mouth is a window to your body’s overall health.
Sometimes the first sign of a disease shows up in your mouth. In other cases infections in your mouth such as periodontal (gum) disease, can cause problems in other areas of your body.
An estimated 80 percent of American adults currently have some form of periodontal disease. Periodontal diseases range from simple gum inflammation to serious diseases that result in major damage to the soft tissue and bone that support the teeth. In the worst cases, teeth are lost.
The mouth – body connection
Your mouth is normally teeming with bacteria. Usually you can keep these bacteria under control with good oral health practices such as daily brushing, flossing, and your routine dental visits. When your gums are healthy, bacteria in your mouth usually don’t enter your bloodstream. However, gum disease may provide bacteria a port of entry into your bloodstream.
Periodontal diseases are inflammatory conditions that were once thought to have affected the mouth alone. Emerging evidence has changed this view and now suggests that periodontal disease may play a role in numerous conditions that impact systemic (general) health and well being.
The signs and symptoms of many potentially life-threatening diseases appear in the mouth first. Here’s a look at some of the diseases and conditions that may be linked to oral health:
. Cardiovascular disease . Pregnancy and birth
. Diabetes . HIV/AIDS . Osteoporosis . Stroke
. Rheumatoid Arthritis . Alzheimer’s
Research has shown, and experts agree, that there is an association between periodontal disease and other chronic inflammatory conditions. Therefore, treating inflammation may not only help manage periodontal diseases but may also help with the management of other chronic inflammatory conditions.
It is important that patients diagnosed with periodontal disease work with their dentist and hygienist to manage and control this serious bacterial infection.
Healthy Mouth… Healthy Body
Dental hygiene along with living a healthy lifestyle requires making good choices. Pairing a few well-known healthy lifestyle habits with your daily oral health regimen may also help reduce your risk for periodontal disease.
Eat and drink up
Eating a balanced diet leads to proper nutrition and helps in keeping the body running effectively.
Hit the gym
Researchers found that subjects who maintained a healthy weight and had high levels of physical fitness had a lower incidence of severe periodontitis than those that did not exercise. Exercise will burn off excessive carbohydrates, reduce inflammation, help the body use vitamins and minerals more effectively, and improve circulation.
Here are some simple ways to combat periodontal disease:
Brush & floss daily
Take your time and do it right! Electric toothbrushes are best, and the sound wave activity of the Sonicare bursts bacteria cells!
Use an anti-bacterial mouthwash
It helps to disinfect the teeth and gums, and reduces the number of bacteria.
Straighten your teeth
Crowded teeth are nearly impossible to keep clean and floss. Orthodontic treatment can greatly reduce inflammation and periodontal disease. Invisalign is often a simple way to accomplish this.
Routine dental visits
Professional cleanings and checkups make you feel good, look good, and could be a lifesaver!
So this year why not resolve to practice good oral hygiene every day, your whole body is counting on you.
Happy New Year
Dennis Lucas, DMD
1000 Tamiami Trail North, Suite 302
Naples, Florida 34102