Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Could Going to the Dentist Save Your Life?

Everyone knows that it is important to brush and floss regularly. We all want a perfect smile. No one wants bad breath or cavities. We have been told to brush twice a day for at least three minutes. We all know we should floss, too. But scientists and researchers are now discovering that good oral hygiene might be critical to your overall health.

The mouth is full of bacteria, some good and some bad. Your body tries to keep that bacteria where it belongs. You can help by practicing good oral hygiene. However, that bacteria sometimes gets to places in your body that it should not be. When it does, there can be serious health consequences. For example, if that bacteria enters your bloodstream it can cause an infection in the lining of the heart, called endocarditis. Research suggests a possible link between oral bacteria and heart disease, including increased risk of a heart attack or stroke. Tooth loss before age 35 may be linked to Alzheimer's later in life. Periodontitis, a serious gum condition, has been linked to premature birth. Oral health has also been linked to osteoporosis, HIV/AIDs, bacterial pneumonia, and other serious conditions. It turns out that the health of your mouth can have a serious impact on your entire body.

Luckily, all this knowledge is being used to help keep people healthier. So what can you do? All the things you already do, like brush and floss, are a good start. A healthy diet helps regulate oral bacteria. Replacing your toothbrush every few months is also recommended. Keeping up with your dentist by scheduling annual checkups and follow-up appointments is also critical. Only a trained dental professional can accurately evaluate your oral health and recommend improvements. Your insurance carrier can usually help you find a dentist if you do not already have one. Forming these good habits will help stop serious problems before they start.

Many people think they can avoid the dentist as long as they brush and floss. A lot of us only go in when something is wrong, like a toothache or cavity. It turns out a regular trip to the dentist is just as important as getting a regular physical. With research showing that oral hygiene can affect everything from your heart to your brain to your lungs, it is more important now than ever to take care of your dental health.

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