When people hear any mention of oral or dental hygiene, they probably think of how brushing and flossing impact the health of their teeth. Although this is an extremely important benefit of a good oral-care regiment, the term “dental hygiene” encompasses much more than that. Your mouth’s health, including that of your teeth, has a significant impact on your overall physical health.
You cannot be healthy without oral health. Oral health and general health are inextricably linked, and therefore can’t be seen as two separate things. For individuals, this means that it is just as important to take care of your mouth, your teeth, and your overall oral health as it is to take care of the rest of your body.
What affects oral health?
Your mouth has roughly 500 different species of bacteria. Many are harmless, and some are even good bacteria that help maintain the balance of your intestinal flora.
The two most prevalent dental diseases are caries (cavities), also known as tooth decay, and periodontal (gum) disease.
A cavity is actually a symptom of a disease called caries. Tooth decay is a result of an active infection and condition in the mouth. There elements impacting this disease include, among other factors, active infection, bacteria levels, acid / PH levels, salivary activity, your tooth structure, and your nutrition. Oral bacteria live in a housing structure called biofilm. This offers them protection, food, and an ideal replicating environment.
Biofilm can be healthy if there is a balance of good bacteria. However, caries are a result of the numbers of “bad” bacteria increasing and the existent of an oral environment where they thrive and therefore cause tooth decay.
Harmful bacteria can also infect your gums, causing gum disease. Gum disease is caused by a buildup of plaque (a sticky form of bacteria that forms on the teeth). If the plaque is not removed, it will continue to build up and create toxins that can damage the gums. Gum disease forms just below the gum line and creates small pockets that separate the gums from the teeth.
Now that you know how important good dental hygiene is, be sure to contact our office to get your teeth cleaned professionally by our expert hygienist every six months, have regular dental checkups, brush and floss your teeth at least twice daily, and replace your toothbrush every three months.