We see a separate type of doctor to care for our mouths, so it’s easy to think that oral care is a standalone, special thing. But your mouth isn’t a biological island. When it comes to the health of your mouth, it’s tied to the health of a lot of other parts of your body, too. And vice versa! Kind of. It’s a pretty complicated set of relationships, actually.
Systems that your oral health can directly affect include your digestive system, respiratory system, olfactory system an inner ear structures, because these are all adjacent/attached. Just like smoking tobacco hurts your teeth as well as your lungs, a jaw infection can spread to your face and neck.
And then there are the vital systems your oral health can affect indirectly, and vice versa. For instance:
- People with diabetes and high blood sugar have higher rates of dental disease/complications.
- Poor oral health has been linked to increased risk of cardiovascular disease, heart attack and stroke.
- Poor oral health has been linked to increased risk of cancer.
- Rheumatoid arthritis increases risks of oral health complications, and poor oral health can contribute to related inflammation, making the condition harder to manage.
- Pregnant people with oral health problems have higher risk of complications, premature birth and low birth weight.
- Poor oral health has been linked to increased risk of Alzheimer’s and dementia.
So it follows that, while there are specific things you should do to take care of your teeth, many of the good habits that keep your mouth healthy are also habits that keep your whole body healthy. Here’s some tips on how to keep your mouth healthy so you don’t have to worry about needing tooth replacement, root canals, dental implants or other mouth surgeries. Preventative care is a lot less painful and a lot less expensive than tooth decay, gum disease and jaw damage!
10 Ways to Prevent Needing Your Oral Surgeon or Doctor to Intervene
Much of the way that an unhealthy mouth makes for an unhealthy body is because your mouth is literally guarding the door to your insides. If you’re creating, hosting and breathing in bad bacteria, that stuff is pumping directly into your lungs, esophageal tissue and bloodstream.
These 10 tips will help you keep your mouth in guardian mode:
Brush your teeth – the right way.
You should brush your teeth every day, especially before bed. Use toothpaste with fluoride. Use circular motions. Be thorough, but don’t brush too hard. And don’t forget your tongue! Bacteria builds up there, too.
Making sure you’re always hydrated has benefits for literally every part of your body. Skin health, joint lubrication, brain function and blood flow all improve when you’re properly hydrated. And as far as your mouth goes, regularly drinking water throughout the day prevents dry mouth and bacteria buildup.
Keep regular dental appointments.
Getting your teeth cleaned regularly is obviously good for them. But seeing your dentist regularly also means that you’ll catch issues like oral cancer, gum disease, cavities or tooth decay early on. You can prevent further damage and get the healthcare you need before small problems become big.
Floss once a day.
Flossing regularly prevents bacteria and plaque buildup between your teeth, and also gets sneaky debris away from your gum line, preventing gum disease.
Stop smoking, y’all.
It’s the 2020s. Tobacco, in all its forms, is terrible for you; that news is old hat. Smoking, vaping or chewing – all these things can lead to gum disease, tooth decay, mouth or jaw cancer, lung cancer, heart disease, organ failure – the list of health complications is insane. Just stay away from tobacco and nicotine.
Chill out on the sugar.
Eating too much sugar or sugary acids like citric acid is bad for not only your teeth, but your insulin levels and your arteries. Instead of soda, grab a seltzer water. Limit acidic fruits and candy. And when you do partake in a craving for sweets, flush with a lot of water after. But don’t necessarily brush your teeth immediately. Acids weaken your enamel, so brushing aggressively right after downing a Coke isn’t actually the best course of action.
Eat crunchy vegetables.
Not only are vegetables good for you – eyes, liver, skin, digestion – all these things benefit from eating your veggies. But crunchy vegetables also strengthen your jaw. So we recommend starting on crunchy veggies early on in life so you grow a strong and healthy jaw. The better your jaw health, the less likely you’ll have tooth loss later on in life.
Get yourself a fancy toothbrush.
There’s a reason your dentist doesn’t brush your teeth manually when you go in for your cleanings. Get an electric toothbrush, and make sure to switch the head out every 3 months or so.
Being stressed out can contribute to a host of health problems, and oral health is no different. Self-care, mindfulness, relaxation, etc. can prevent damage from teeth clenching, bruxism and TMJ, and stop your immune system from being weakened from high cortisol levels.
Be aware of the medications you’re taking.
If you have a chronic health condition and/or are on maintenance medications, know the risks and interactions of your medications. Some can cause dry mouth or make you more susceptible to bleeding gums, oral infection, etc. Know if these risks apply to you so you can stay vigilant.
Find Support for Your Oral Health Journey at Wilmington Oral Surgery
If you keep consistent on these habits and upgrade your toothbrush, we guarantee you’ll see an improvement in the health of your mouth. And even if you’ve already had some problems with your oral health, there’s always ways we can help you get back to a healthy jaw and a beautiful smile. With holistic tooth replacement, natural aftercare management, and cutting-edge oral surgery techniques, Wilmington Oral Surgery can help you have a healthy mouth for a lifetime.