May is National Dental Health Month

May is National Dental Care Month and serves as a reminder on why caring for our teeth is so important. If you’re just going through the motions of cleaning your teeth and not properly brushing, flossing, or visiting your dentist regularly, you could be at risk for dental and overall health issues. It is critical to maintain a regular oral hygiene routine every month. 

Your Mouth is the Gateway to Your Body

While maintaining dental health is important for keeping your teeth and gums, it can also affect your overall health. Your mouth can reveal signs of nutritional deficiencies and even general infections. Further, certain systemic diseases that affect the entire body, like diabetes, Alzheimer’s and Sjögren’s syndrome, could first be noticed by mouth lesions or other oral health issues. 

Our mouths are filled with countless bacteria, some of which are linked to tooth decay and gum disease. Researchers have found that severe gum disease, known as periodontitis can be linked to other health problems like cardiovascular disease, stroke, and bacterial pneumonia. Further, pregnant women with periodontitis could be at risk for delivering preterm and/or delivered a baby with a low birth weight. 

Maintain Good Oral Hygiene for a Lifetime

Your teeth are meant to last you a lifetime. Knowing that, and knowing how your dental health can affect your smile and your overall health, it’s important to maintain good oral hygiene.   To keep a healthy smile, the CDC recommends that you:

  • Brush your teeth twice a day, thoroughly. Use gentle, circular motions and be sure you are cleaning the entire surface of each tooth. 
  • Floss daily to remove plaque and food that can get lodged between the teeth. 
  • Add fluoride to your routine; drink fluoridated water and brush your teeth with a fluoride toothpaste.
  • Quit smoking and tobacco use.
  • If you have diabetes, work to maintain control over it. This will help lower your risk for gum disease, but treating gum disease can also help lower your blood sugar level. 
  • When taking medication that causes dry mouth, ask your doctor for different medication options that don’t have that side effect. If you can’t avoid dry mouth, be sure you are staying hydrated, chewing sugar-free gum, and avoiding tobacco and alcohol. 
  • Visit your dentist twice a year, even if you don’t have any natural teeth and only have dentures. 

Regular visits to the dentist are a good way to maintain dental health. Please contact Dr. Soto the Downey Dentist to  book an appointment.

Schedule your spring-cleaning today!

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