Nowadays, the media is overwhelming us with information on nutrition, exercise, maintaining the best possible form and healthy lifestyle. But have you ever considered the importance of oral health as one of the key factors in general health? Oral hygiene and general health are closely linked. It is said that the mouth situation reflects the health of your body. However, as problems with the rest of your body may be reflected in your mouth, poor oral hygiene can also cause a problem in the rest of your body.
It can cause a number of other problems besides causing bad breath, caries, gum inflammation, periodontitis, etc. For example, cardiac surgery cannot be performed unless the patient has a sanitized oral cavity and proper oral hygiene; In pregnant women with poor oral hygiene, in addition to premature birth, bacteria from the oral cavity can enter the bloodstream and infect a baby, which can have lifelong consequences.
What happenes if you don’t maintain you oral hygiene?
More than 500 types of bacteria reside in your mouth at all times. These bacteria constantly make dental plaque – a sticky, colorless layer that can be glued to your teeth and cause health problems.
If you do not brush your teeth regularly and do not use floss to keep your teeth clean, plaque builds up along your gums, creating an environment for additional bacteria to accumulate in the space between your gums and your teeth. This is when the gum infection begins and it is known as gingivitis. If left unchecked, gingivitis can lead to a more serious gum infection called periodontitis. The bacteria from your mouth usually do not enter the bloodstream except for invasive dental treatments. However, if you have gum disease, which usually presents after two weeks of poor oral hygiene, routine brushing and using the thread alone can cause these germs to enter. Drugs or treatments that reduce saliva flow and antibiotics that impair the normal balance of bacteria in the mouth can also compromise normal mouth defenses, allowing these bacteria to enter your bloodstream.
If you have a completely healthy immune system, the presence of oral bacteria in your bloodstream usually does not cause problems. Your immune system quickly destroys them, preventing infection. However, if your immune system is weakened, for example due to a disease or treatment of tumors, bacteria in your bloodstream (bacteremia) can cause the infection to develop in another part of your body. An example of this phenomenon is infectious endocarditis, in which oral bacteria enter your bloodstream and stick to diseased heart valves and cause numerous risks, including cardiac arrest.
Consequences of bad oral hygiene
Prolonged gum infection can result in tooth loss over time. But the consequences may not end there. Recent research suggests that there may be an association between oral infections, primarily gum infections, and the following conditions:
Poorly controlled diabetes – If you have diabetes you already have an increased risk of developing gum disease. But chronic gum disease, in fact, can make it difficult to control diabetes. Infection can cause insulin resistance, which impairs blood sugar control.
Cardiovascular disease – Oral inflammation due to bacteria (gingivitis) can also play a role in clogged arteries and blood clots. It seems that bacteria in the mouth can cause inflammation throughout the body, including the arteries. This inflammation can serve as a basis for the development of atherosclerotic plaques in the arteries, which can increase the risk of heart attack or stroke. Some research suggests that people with gum infections also have an increased risk of heart attack and stroke. The more serious the infection, the higher the risk.
Premature birth – A severe gum disease can increase the risk of preterm birth and low birth weight. In theory, oral bacteria release toxins that reach the placenta through the mother’s bloodstream and impede fetal growth and development. At the same time, oral infection causes the mother to produce labor that causes the labor too quickly, potentially leading to premature birth.
In addition to all of the above, there is something we would like to draw your attention to. Tooth is an organ like any other. You wouldn’t want to run out of lungs, liver, kidneys or even a finger, would you? Therefore, you should have the same attitude towards tooth loss. Once you lose a tooth, it will never grow again. Although there are many methods that can complement the place where the tooth is missing, whatever they do; crown, bridge, implant, … The function will never be the same as with a natural tooth.
Therefore, here are some basic tips on how to maintain oral hygiene properly:
Dental floss / interdental toothbrushes
Although you would not assume at first, before brushing, a dental floss or interdental toothbrush is used first. This is because in that way you free the space between your teeth (interdental space) from food debris and when you brush, the fibers in the brush can learn a little deeper and potentially clean that space better. But remember, you can’t completely brush your teeth in the interdental space with a brush. By brushing alone, about 60% of teeth are cleaned, while 40% should be cleaned with floss or interdental brushes. So don’t skip this step. Because in this case, despite regular and quality brushing, caries and/or gingivitis can occur.
How to use an interdental brush:
For best results, it is important to choose the right sized interdental brush. Often you need more than one brush size, and a dental specialist can help you choose the right brush size. Gently insert the toothbrush between your teeth. Do not push, it must get in gently, if it doesn’t then take a smaller size. Move the brush back and forth several times. Resize and twist your neck or wire as needed, and when the fibers are worn take a new brush.
How to use the thread properly:
If you cannot insert the interdental toothbrush between your teeth, then use a floss. Don’t save. Separate approximately 20-40 inches of floss. Wrap most of the thread around your finger on one side and the rest around your finger on the other. Aim the thread between the teeth, but not in the middle, first, stuck to one surface of the tooth (c-shaped), then press the surface to make slow movements up and down several times and remove the thread. Then you re-enter the same interspace and repeat the process for the opposite surface. And so the whole dental string. Gradually unwrap the clean thread as you progress toward the rest of the tooth.
Clean the interdental area at least once a day, better before bedtime, but preferably several times a day.
Brush your teeth at least twice a day. When you brush, do not rush. Brush at least 2 times a day (but best after every major meal) for about 3-5 minutes. Do not brush immediately after eating, especially if you have something sour, such as grapefruit or soda, and wait half an hour after eating. Use appropriate equipment. Use fluoride toothpaste and a soft bristled or medium-hard bristled toothbrush. Consider using a battery operated electric toothbrush which can reduce plaque and mild gum disease (gingivitis) more than manual brushing. These devices are also useful if you have arthritis or other problems that make it difficult to brush effectively. Remember to also brush the tongue that collects the bacteria with a toothbrush.
Keep the toothbrush at a small angle with the bristles pointing toward the area where your tooth joins the gums. Brush gently with circular short strokes and back and forth, and be sure to clean all tooth surfaces, external and internal. Pay special attention to the rear teeth, which are more difficult to clean. Brushing hard or with hard bristles can hurt your gums and tooth enamel. Change the brush every 3-4 months.
In addition to daily brushing and cleaning of the interdental space, consider using a fluoride mouthwash. It reduces the percentage of bacteria in your mouth and thus the formation of plaque. Rinse your mouth with water 2-3 times a week.
Visit the dentist
To prevent gum disease and other oral health problems, do not wait for pain to occur but schedule a regular appointment with your dentist. Remove tartar once or twice a year. Contact your dentist if you notice any signs or symptoms that might suggest oral health problems, such as: red or swollen gums, bleeding and gum withdrawal, shaky teeth, sensitivity to hot and cold, constant bad breath, unusual taste in the mouth, pain during chewing.
A diet with lots of refined carbohydrates causes more bacteria, plaque and caries to develop. Try replacing chocolates, chips, carbonated and non-carbonated juices with healthier foods like fruits, salty crackers and water. Eat more fruits and vegetables due to their effect of reducing caries risk.
This gadget cannot remove plaque from your teeth. It only removes the food residue, but not the bacteria that remain stuck on the surface of your teeth. Therefore, if you are thinking of spending more money for better oral hygiene, we recommend that you use that money more wisely and buy an electric brush.
Remember, early detection and treatment of gum, tooth, and mouth problems can provide you with a lifetime of good oral health.