Brush Up on Your Oral Health
Published Monday, April 18, 2022
Kalvin Felbel (Physiotherapist, 2B) has always prioritized physical wellness in his life. This was challenging during the pandemic, so he began biking to work daily and also decided to take up running. With the support of friends and colleagues, this past year he ran his first half marathon, with a full marathon in his sights for 2022.
Not only is good oral health important to having healthy teeth and gums, but it may also lower your risk of chronic disease. A healthy mouth equals a healthy you!
Our mouths contain an abundance of bacteria. This is normal and most of the bacteria are harmless. By brushing and flossing daily, we can keep the levels of bacteria under control. However, when the bacteria is combined with sugar from the food we eat, acids can be created that attack your teeth causing cavities, gum disease, and tooth decay.
Poor oral health can also be associated with other health problems including heart disease and diabetes. Prevention, early detection, and treatment of oral diseases is the key to maintaining a healthy mouth and body.
Establishing a daily oral hygiene routine that involves brushing and flossing is the best way to start. A manual or electric toothbrush should be used to clean the inside, outside, and chewing surfaces of the teeth. Remember, a toothbrush should be replaced every three to four months, or sooner if it becomes frayed. Following up our brushing with flossing allows us to clean areas that a brush is not able to reach to remove excess bacteria.
Your dentist and dental hygienist are your partners in oral health. Stay on track by booking regular appointments and check your mouth regularly for signs of gum disease and oral cancer. Regular dental exams and professional cleanings are the best way to find and prevent problems before they get worse. Dentists and dental hygienists can also remove any unhealthy buildup that regular brushing cannot. If you have any concerns about new or worsening oral health, you should make and appointment with your dentist.
Choosing to eat and drink healthy options will also go a long way when to comes to both oral and whole body health. Try limiting foods and beverages containing sugar, sodium, carbohydrates and/or saturated fats. When we eat these foods, plaque bacteria feast on the sugars left behind and attack our tooth enamel, making our teeth susceptible to long term issues. Instead, make water your drink of choice and eat plenty of whole foods including fruits and vegetables. Apples, carrots, and celery are excellent foods that provide hydration and are a source of fibre. They also scrape the surfaces of our teeth and increase saliva production which helps remove leftover food particles.
Protect your teeth and practice good oral health by avoiding smoking, using smokeless tobacco and vaping. Daily use of alcohol, smoking and/or vaping over time can lead to dry mouth, inflammation, enamel damage, staining and can put you at risk for oral cancer. Smoking and smokeless tobacco can also negatively affect the appearance of your mouth and gums.
Practicing good oral health habits will keep your teeth and gums healthy and benefit your overall health.