By Nancy Hammond
Northwest Asian Weekly
Oral health is critical to overall health. Here are six surprising tips to protect your oral health, save money ‑ and stay healthy.
Surprise #1 – You’re more fit if your mouth is fit. Oral health affects overall health and fitness. Poor oral health has been linked to heart disease, stroke and diabetes. Get regular oral health checkups to detect problems that might quickly get worse and expensive to treat. Preventing and taking care of problems early is especially important for older adults since Medicare doesn’t cover dental care.
Surprise #2 – Flossing keeps you looking younger longer. Flossing daily cleans the 40 percent of your tooth surfaces that brushing doesn’t reach. Flossing helps you look younger longer by preventing gum disease which leads to receding gums, a telltale sign of aging.
Surprise #3 – Gum disease is an infection that makes it harder to manage diabetes. If you have diabetes you’re twice as likely to develop gum disease, and gum disease makes it harder to control blood sugar. People with diabetes should get regular dental checkups.
Surprise #4 – Cavities are caused by infectious germs. Sweet or high-carb foods and drinks feed the germs that cause decay. After eating, these germs make acid. The acid attacks teeth for 20 minutes or more, literally eating away tooth enamel. The result: cavities. It’s the frequency of snacking (or sipping) — not just the type of snack — that leads to tooth decay. When you have a snack, it’s better to eat it all at once rather than nibbling throughout the day.
Surprise #5 – Cavity-causing germs are infectious. Most people don’t know that cavity-causing germs are infectious. The germs can actually be spread via saliva (typically from moms to babies) by sharing food, utensils, or even kisses. If you’re pregnant, get any active decay treated before your baby is born. In addition, poor oral health can cause complications during pregnancy.
Surprise #6 – Cavities are preventable. Cavities are not inevitable; they are almost 100 percent preventable. Brushing, flossing, healthy snacking and regular oral health checkups lead to good oral health. The use of fluoride helps too. Fluoride toothpaste, fluoride varnish and fluoridated water, are proven tools to prevent cavities because they strengthen teeth.
Good oral health saves you money and makes life better. The good news is you can keep your teeth as long as you live (and eat all the foods you love), if you take care of your mouth. Unleash the power of good oral health. Your appearance and health will benefit, and so will your pocketbook. (end)
If you like your teeth, learn how to protect them for life by visiting, TheMightyMouth.org.