dental hygiene, dental care

The Importance of Good Dental Hygiene

Dentists, oral hygienists, and other oral health professionals want to do everything we can to encourage good dental hygiene. This is why we celebrate Dental Awareness Day on July 18th of every year.

As we have learned more about the human body, there has been a growing concern over poor dental hygiene and its link to health conditions such as oral cancer and heart disease. People like yourself are becoming increasingly motivated to care for your long-term oral health — your teeth, gums, and mouth.

To better understand the importance of good dental hygiene, we’ll look at:

  • The dangers of poor dental hygiene
  • How to maintain proper dental hygiene

Along the way, we’ll touch on how good nutrition can actually improve your dental health. By thinking about how proper dental hygiene and nutrition work together to support good dental health, you’ll be ready for a lifetime of great dentist visits!

The Dangers of Poor Dental Hygiene

Having poor dental hygiene can affect more than your oral health. You may not have known it, but your mouth is actually full of bacteria. Fortunately, most of it is harmless and actually aids in the digestion process. There is such a thing as good bacteria! 

It’s important to know that your respiratory and digestive tracts begin at your mouth. It’s also the point where most harmful bacteria enter your body. A good dental care routine can help prevent this harmful bacteria from making it past your mouth and deeper into your body. Your body can only do so much on its own. Failure to care for it can result in lots of dangerous bacteria buildup. 

Harmful bacteria can cause oral problems that are immediately noticeable. However, they can also cause other health problems such as:

  • Pneumonia
  • Heart disease
  • Oral cancer
  • Pregnancy or birth complications
  • Endocarditis, an infection in the chamber of your heart and heart valves

Preexisting conditions can also have an effect on your oral health. Conditions such as osteoporosis, diabetes, HIV, and others can cause issues to develop in the future. Talk to your dentist about what can occur with these conditions and how to address them.

For Dental Awareness Day 2020, we want to make you aware of the dangers of poor dental hygiene. Even more than that, we want to provide you with the tools and tips necessary to not only protect your oral health but the health of your entire body!

How to Maintain Proper Dental Hygiene

A consistent and effective dental care routine is required in order to maintain good oral health. A good dental care routine is about more than brushing twice a day. It even requires more than flossing! Luckily, developing and maintaining a good dental hygiene routine is easier than you may think.

To help prevent cavities and other consequences or poor dental health, you should:

  • Brush your teeth twice a day with fluoride toothpaste
  • Floss at least once a day
  • Use fluoride mouthwash
  • Visit your dentist every six months for cleanings
  • Drink fluoridated water
  • Eat healthy foods that are also good for your teeth
  • Quit using tobacco products, including smokeless tobacco
  • Avoid tongue rings and other oral piercings

Adding these practices to your oral health routine won’t just protect your teeth. They’ll also help you avoid developing gum disease and even oral cancer.

You should still keep a lookout for any problems that may develop with your dental health.

  • Cavities
  • Overly sensitive teeth
  • Periodontitis, a severe gum infection that can lead to tooth loss 
  • Oral cancer
  • Gingivitis, inflammation of the gums

One of the best ways to spot problems before they become emergencies is to visit your dentist every six months. They’ll have the tools to spot issues you may not notice, as well as have the knowledge and skills to address them immediately.

How Good Nutrition Benefits Your Dental Health

You’re probably aware of the negative effects sugary foods have on your teeth. Overconsumption of these types of foods and drinks can eat away at your teeth’s enamel. A diet full of unhealthy food combined with poor dental hygiene is guaranteed to result in tooth decay and even tooth loss.

On the bright side, good nutrition can actually help support dental health. This is because a lot of foods are packed with teeth-protecting vitamins and minerals that also support overall health.

First off, you want to be eating a diet that’s full of calcium. This includes foods such as:

  • Milk 
  • Cheese 
  • Yogurt
  • Almonds
  • Leafy greens 
  • Calcium-fortified tofu

Another important building block of good dental health is protein. Foods that are high in protein also contain phosphorus, which helps to keep your teeth, gums, and jaw at their strongest. Not only do protein and phosphorus protect your teeth, but they also aid in rebuilding tooth enamel!

You can find protein and phosphorus in:

  • Meat
  • Eggs
  • Milk
  • Poultry
  • Fish

You also want to make sure that you’re eating plenty of fruits and vegetables. While fruits can be naturally high in sugar, their fiber and water content more than makes up for it. As an added bonus, fruits and vegetables increase saliva production, which actually helps clean away acid and other particles from your teeth. 

Another important aspect of fruits and vegetables is their vitamin content. Like protein and phosphorus, vitamin A is known to help rebuild tooth enamel. Vitamin C is essential for maintaining healthy gums. 

Last but certainly not least, make sure you’re drinking plenty of water. It’s healthier than just about anything else you can drink and your teeth will be especially grateful. Try to drink fluoridated water if you can.

Final Thoughts

Dental Awareness Day is a great time to start thinking about your dental hygiene. Remember that the majority of bad bacteria enters through your mouth, so having an effective dental routine is essential. This can easily be achieved through basics like brushing twice a day, visiting your dentist regularly, and quitting tobacco. You should also know how nutrition affects your oral health. By eating healthier, you’re protecting your overall health as well as your smile!

Hiawassee Family Dental is open 8 a.m. – 5 p.m., Monday through Thursday to help with all your dental needs. Call us today at (706) 896-1204 or you can schedule your appointment online

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