Having good oral health has taken on new light over the past few decades, thanks to an enormous amount of research. In addition to avoiding cavities, tooth loss, and gum disease, a healthy mouth is now understood to be a necessary component of having good overall health.
Numerous research has shown that the infectious bacteria of gum disease can cause inflammatory triggers elsewhere in the body. This is because the bacteria of periodontal disease can enter the bloodstream through tears in weakened gum tissues. Gum disease has been linked to diseases or medical conditions such as some cancers, Alzheimer’s disease, heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, arthritis, diabetes, preterm babies and impotency.
That in itself should motivate people to be highly-committed to a thorough oral hygiene regimen at home combined with twice-a-year dental checkups and cleanings. Yet, when it comes to maintaining a healthy smile, men, especially, are falling short.
Research findings published by the Journal of Periodontology showed that women are nearly twice as likely to see their dentist for dental check-ups than men and are more likely to follow through on recommended treatment. Women in the study were also shown to have better gum health with less dental plaque, calculus, and bleeding. (www.perio.org/consumer/gender-differences)
When it comes to flossing, neither gender was shown to be a winner. Over half of adults in the U.S. (of both sexes) need to get into the habit when it comes to flossing each day. Of those surveyed, only 49 percent reported that they were daily flossers. Even more alarming, 1 out of 3 of those surveyed deemed it normal to see blood in the sink when brushing teeth and were unaware of this being a sign of periodontal disease.
Although the benefits of a healthy smile are often unknown or deemed low-priority, Americans seem to be more tuned-in when it comes to the appearance of a smile, which is a fairly high-ranking factor in how we deem the attractiveness in an individual. A national survey reported by the American Dental Association (ADA) revealed that a smile outranks eyes, hair and body as the most attractive physical feature. (www.dentistryiq.com/articles/de/2009/02/survey-finds-smile-is-most-attractive-physical-feature.html)
However, the survey also showed the differences between men and women when it comes to the care of their teeth and gums. The survey estimates that 86 percent of females brush their teeth twice or more a day while only 66 percent of males do so.
Guys! You can do better! Your oral health is an important part of having good overall health, and that applies to both sexes. It is important to have dental check-ups every six months as well as being committed to a thorough oral hygiene regimen at home.
Your at-home care routine should include brushing at least twice a day for at least two minutes per time. Use a soft to medium tooth brush and avoid scrubbing in a back-&-forth motion. (This can cause damage to tooth enamel and wear away gum tissues.) Hint: if your tooth brush bristles splay out after a month or so, you’re pressing down too hard.
It is also important to floss daily. This removes food particles caught between teeth that a tooth brush can’t dislodge. If flossing is too awkward, purchase a water flosser. These are affordable and are proven to be equally as effective as flossing manually. For people with large hands or manual dexterity issues, they are also easy to use.
The tips above will help you avoid oral problems, such as gum disease and cavities. This means you’ll also be able to avoid or minimize costs for treatment and time in a dental chair. However, the advantages to your overall health – as research has shown – are priceless.
Could you be better at maintaining your oral health? Let’s create a clean slate by helping you achieve a healthy mouth. Call 910-254-4555 to begin with a no-charge consultation. During this time, we’ll discuss ways to create a healthy smile that supports good overall health.