Not taking care of your teeth properly can lead to more than just cavities. Most people these days are aware that poor oral hygiene allows bacteria in the mouth to thrive and reach levels that may lead to tooth decay and periodontitis, a severe form of gum disease. What many are not aware of, however, is that oral health also may affect overall health.
Research suggests that poor oral health may be a factor in other health problems like endocarditis, an inflammation of the heart’s lining, and cardiovascular disease, which can lead to heart attacks and stroke. In pregnant women, periodontitis has been linked to premature birth and low birth weight.
Protect your oral and overall health with a consistent regimen of dental care, including the following:
• Brush your teeth at least twice daily—especially before going to bed—and use a fluoride toothpaste.
• Floss at least once daily.
• Replace your toothbrush periodically—especially when the bristles become weak or frayed.
• See your dentist or oral hygienist every six months.
• Don’t smoke.
• Avoid foods with excessive amounts of sugar.