Oral health: How to ensure a healthy mouth and to reduce the risk of serious complications
Research shows that good oral health contributes to better heart health, better respiratory health and better control of blood sugar for diabetics. Dr Creaven said: “When you think about dental health, the focus is likely to be on preventing cavities in your teeth.
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“But it’s important to pay attention to your gums, too.
“Gums play a major role not only in your dental health, but in your overall well-being.
“When people don’t practice proper dental hygiene, bacteria in the mouth forms plaque on the teeth.
“These bacteria may cause your gums to become inflamed, which results in red, swollen, or bleeding gums.”
For many people with gingivitis, this inflammation is not painful.
Dr Creaven continued: “If you catch gingivitis early, it can be reversed and healed with proper oral hygiene.
“There is a lot of research to show that the health of your mouth can impact the health of your body and in particular your heart health.”
When asked how poor oral health could impact the body, Dr Creaven said: “Gum inflammation, also known as gingivitis, is the build-up of plaque and bacteria causing inflammation in the gums.
“This can impact the health of your heart as these bacteria can get into your bloodstream which can then get to the heart and could potentially cause an infection of the heart valves.
“Oral health may be particularly important if you have artificial heart valves.”
Gum disease and heart disease
The American Dental association and American Heart association have acknowledged the relationship between gum disease and heart disease.
Dr Creaven explained: “Gum disease may increase the risk of heart disease because inflammation in the gums and bacteria may eventually lead to narrowing of important arteries.
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“There is also a strong connection between diabetes and cardiovascular disease and evidence that people with diabetes benefit from periodontal treatment.
“The good news is that simple measures such as brushing thoroughly twice a day, using floss every day and seeing your dentist and hygienist regularly are shown to reduce gum inflammation and promote overall oral health.”
Dr Creaven’s top tips to ensure your mouth stays healthy include:
- Store your toothbrush separately and steep in hydrogen peroxide mouthwash after use.
- Use a hydrogen peroxide-based mouthwash for one minute, ideally at a separate time from teeth brushing to maximise the results, perhaps after lunch. Not only will this keep your teeth bright and white, it will also contribute to great oral health. Our White Teeth Wash is gentler than most mouthwashes as it’s alcohol-free.
- While we are all at home, resist the temptation of snacking too much. Try to eat more at mealtimes to reduce snacking between meals. What causes decay is not what you eat, but how often you eat.
- Invest in a sonic brush to keep your teeth cleaner for longer. Studies show that sonic brushes are much more effective at plaque removal than manual brushes and will reduce gum disease and inflammation. They are also better at removing stains, keeping your teeth whiter, which is especially useful if you’re drinking more coffee, tea and red wine than usual.
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