Our mouths are a gateway to our bodies. The bacteria in your mouth can indicate if you are vulnerable to larger health risks. For example, HIV/AIDS and diabetes first show signs in the mouth. Don’t take your oral health for granted. I know far too many people who undervalue trips to the dentist. They will schedule annual visits to their general practitioner but wait years to go to the dentist. I’ll admit that I’m guilty of this as well. The mouth is a part of our bodies, and it should be treated as such.
The Bacteria in Your Mouth
More than 500 types of bacteria call your mouth home. If you don’t practice good oral hygiene, these bacteria will form plaque and other buildup. This invites other bacteria into your mouth, which can result in infections. You might have heard your dentist say that you’re at risk for gingivitis, but what is it? Growing up, my dentist would tell me that all the time. It meant nothing to me because they never explained its effects. Gingivitis can inflame your gums, destroy tissue, and break down your teeth. It’s reversible with good oral hygiene, but it’s best not to make yourself vulnerable to it at all.
If you don’t take care of your oral health, you’re opening yourself up to other infections. Endocarditis, cardiovascular disease, and osteoporosis are just a few of the prime examples. Endocarditis is an infection that affects the inner lining of your heart. The bacteria in your mouth can spread through your bloodstream and find its way to weaker portions of your heart. There is some research that suggests bacteria from your mouth are connected to heart disease and clogged arteries. It also increases your risk of stroke. Osteoporosis results in brittle bones, which may be cause bone and tooth loss.
Tips to Maintain Good Bacteria in Your Mouth
I’ll be honest, I’m an easy person to scare. Just the word “osteoporosis” sends a chill down my spine, preventative medication is always the best type of medication. So, what can you and I do to protect our teeth? For starters, brushing your teeth twice a day with fluoride toothpaste helps. However, that alone won’t solve anything. Here are few additional things to try:
- Floss daily
- Eat a healthy and well-balanced diet (dessert is my weak spot)
- Replace your toothbrush every 3-4 months
- Schedule annual or biannual dentist appointments
- Avoid tobacco, alcohol, and coffee (I know these things are hard to quit but cutting back can help a lot.)
If this article has been any help to you, please let me know. I love receiving feedback. Don’t hesitate to let me know what topics you want me to cover in the comments section. As always, keep a lookout for my next post!