Everyone knows that brushing your teeth prevents cavities and tooth decay. But many people don’t realize dental care is an essential part of overall healthcare. Dental care may help prevent conditions such as obesity, diabetes, and heart disease.
With poor oral health, bacteria can grow and spread through the body. Inflammation in the gums may lead to other inflammation and disease, such as heart disease. Painful or missing teeth can cause problems with chewing and food breakdown, which may lead to poor nutrition.
Sherece B. Thompson, DDS, a clinical outreach coordinator in the Malcolm X College Dental Hygiene Program and director of the Chicago Dental Society’s Kenwood/Hyde Park branch, says you can maintain a healthy mouth by:
- Visiting the dentist every six months for cleanings.
- Brushing and flossing twice a day and using a mouth rinse.
- Eating a healthy diet and limiting food and beverages high in sugar.
- Talking to your dentist about your medical history, especially any changes.
- Avoiding smoking, vaping, or the use of marijuana, which increases the risk of gum disease.
Healthy teeth and gums make for better health all the way around.