Poor Oral Hygiene and Your Health

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A clean and healthy mouth is key to a beautiful smile!

Our office emphasizes good brushing habits because we understand that poor oral hygiene can have a serious impact on your overall health, not just the health of your mouth. A healthy mouth can possibly help you keep serious health problems at bay.


Seeing a dentist on a regular basis is important, but is twice as important during orthodontic treatment. Although our braces are smaller, they can still trap food. Not brushing around them properly can cause plaque buildup. Overtime, this buildup can cause white spots. Braces do not cause white spots, only poor oral hygiene does! Buildup can also contribute to periodontal disease.


Body Health and Periodontal Disease

Periodontal disease, also known as gum disease, can lead to tooth loss and oral pain. Advanced gum diseases affect more than 75% of the US population, and similar research shows that 90% of all systemic diseases (diseases which involve many organs or the whole body) often stem from poor oral hygiene. This can include diabetes, heart disease, kidney disease, and various forms of cancer.


This is because bacteria from your gums can travel throughout your body. The heart and valves can become inflamed in a condition known as bacterial endocarditis. Heart disease is the number one killer in the United States and having periodontal disease increases your risk of having a heart attack by 28%. According to the American Heart Association, “the findings indicate a strong link between gum disease and heart disease, (but) it’s still unclear whether one actually causes the other.”


Researchers believe that inflammation in the gums may be responsible for the connection, which involve many of the same risk factors. These risk factors include smoking, poor nutrition, and diabetes (which can also be affected by poor oral hygiene).


This bacteria can also travel to your lungs, which can aggravate respiratory systems. This can often lead to pneumonia. Bad bacteria from gum disease can also aggravate those with COPD or bronchitis, and researches found that those suffering from these respiratory diseases had gum health that was worse than those with ideal oral hygiene. These diseases can be severely debilitating for many, especially with age.


For pregnant women, poor oral hygiene can also cause premature delivery and pregnancy complications. Bacteria from the mother’s mouth can be transmitted through blood and amniotic fluid to the unborn child. This can cause premature delivery, lower birth weights, and possibly infection once the baby is born.


Lowering your risk of periodontal disease is extremely important and very easy!

Removing plaque buildup is key to preventing poor oral hygiene. Brush your teeth at least twice a day and floss regularly. We recommend all of our patients brush after every meal when possible, especially if they have braces or an appliance. We also recommend patients floss before they go to bed. It is important to see your general dentist for checkups and cleanings.


If you have questions or need help brushing and flossing with your braces, please contact our office! Our assistants are more than happy to help all of our patients with their oral hygiene regimens. If you don’t have a general dentist that you see we will be more than happy to recommend one. If you are interested in an oral hygiene presentation at a school, day care center, or anywhere else, please email us!

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