Keep Your Teeth and Mouth in Shape for Overall Better Health

Keep Your Teeth and Mouth in Shape for Overall Better Health

Lee esto en EspañolYou may take your teeth for granted if nothing hurts. But some dental problems don’t cause pain, especially early on. And problems with your mouth can lead to other health problems. Don’t let that happen.

It’s easy to cover the basics — just make sure you’re brushing, flossing and seeing your dentist regularly.

But sometimes people just don’t keep up with the routine care of their teeth and mouth. If that’s you, there are many reasons to start doing better, and to start now.

Do It For Your Heart

Keeping your teeth and gums in good shape is an important step toward protecting your heart. Research shows that people with gum disease are almost twice as likely to have heart disease.

Gum disease is a chronic bacterial infection that causes swelling in the gums and harms the bone supporting the teeth. And this bacteria can enter the blood stream and travel through the body. That may harm the heart and blood vessels. And the inflammation caused by your body’s immune system trying to fight off the infection in your mouth can harm your heart and other areas of your body.

Many people don’t know they have gum disease, also called periodontal disease. Watch for these signs of trouble:

  • Red and swollen gums
  • Bleeding gums while brushing or flossing
  • Loose or separating teeth
  • Lasting bad breath

There are often no early signs. But your dentist can tell you if you have it. And you can treat it with a good daily oral hygiene routine. Find out more about how to prevent gum disease for a healthy heart.

Do It If You Have Diabetes

If you have diabetes, it affects your whole body. Research shows that people with uncontrolled blood sugar levels are more likely to get advanced gum disease and lose teeth.

For better health, manage your blood sugar levels, eat a balanced diet, take care of your mouth and teeth and see your dentist for normal exams. Routine care to treat gum disease may aid blood sugar level control for people with Type 2 diabetes, lowering the risk of more serious health issues. Be sure to tell your dentist about any changes in your health.

Treatment of gum disease depends on your problem and how far it has progressed. Some people get care from their regular dentist. Others see a specialist or have gum surgery.

Learn more about how good gum care can help you manage your diabetes.

Prevention Is Best for All

Help from your dentist may reverse gum disease if you already have it. But good daily care may prevent tooth decay and gum disease. To keep it from starting, take these steps:

  • Brush twice a day
  • Floss each day
  • Eat healthy food
  • Skip sugary snacks
  • See your dentist for routine visits (aim for every six months)
  • Never use tobacco products
If It Has Been Too Long

If it has been more than six months since your last exam, give your dentist a call. Many people fell behind on regular teeth cleaning during the COVID-19 pandemic. But catching up now on dental care, or any health care you’ve missed, is important.

Just like other preventive health care, cleanings and other routine dental treatment can help people ward off serious health problems. Healthy teeth and gums also make it possible to enjoy eating and to eat well for nourishment. That is especially important for people as they age, says the National Institute on Agingleaving site icon

Making an appointment now for your cleaning and exam could help your future health.

Sources: Gum Disease and Heart Disease, leaving site icon American Academy of Periodontology; Diabetes and Your Smile, leaving site icon Your Top 9 Questions about Going to the Dentist Answered, leaving site icon American Dental Association; Taking Care of Your Teeth and Mouthleaving site icon National Institute on Aging, 2020