It’s unfortunate that many Americans don’t take their oral health seriously. In 2011 and 2012, the Centers for Disease Control’s National Center for Health Statistics found that over 90% of Americans between the ages of 20 and 64 had dental cavities and by the time they were 65, over 95% of Americans have some type of tooth decay. However, letting your oral health lapse can lead to bigger health problems. One person dies from oral cancer in the United States hourly. Having regular visits to your dentist can help detect signs and symptoms early enough to make a difference. And, having healthy teeth can help you feel more confident about your smile and overall appearance. Let’s talk about how often you should be visiting your dentist and what you can do on your end to be promoting good oral health for an overall healthier lifestyle.
Why Is Having Healthy Teeth So Important?
Frighteningly, almost half of adults who are 30 and over have some kind of periodontal disease and over 30% of people say that they’re concerned by the appearance of their teeth. Almost three-quarters of adults think that an unattractive smile can have negative effects on their career success and a majority of people believe that an attractive smile can have a huge impact on how attractive they think a person of the opposite gender is.
Healthy teeth mean that you’re less likely to need expensive dental procedures and that you’ll have your original teeth as you age, which can make eating easier. There’s also a greater chance that you’ll feel more confident and attractive when you have healthy teeth, boosting your self-esteem and self-confidence in both your personal and professional relationships. A bright smile can make all the difference!
How Can Not Taking Care of My Teeth Impact Me?
People may be shocked to realize that bad oral health and gum disease can bump up your risk of heart attack, stroke, diabetes, and even preterm labor. Your dentist can also tell a lot about what’s happening in the rest of your body based on your mouth’s health. The Academy of General Dentistry states that over 90% of systemic diseases manifest themselves in oral signs and symptoms.
Not brushing, flossing, or visiting your local dentist regularly means that you might miss these oral signs and symptoms, and place you at a higher risk for cavities, periodontal disease, and gum disease. Not brushing or flossing can increase how much plaque is in your mouth, which can lead to gingivitis, a type of gum disease.
Furthermore, since there are about 500 different types of bacteria hanging out in our mouths at any given time, bad oral health means that you’re more at risk for harmful bacteria to make their way into your bloodstream, which can have a negative impact on your immune system.
Simply put: your mouth’s health has a serious impact on the rest of your body, so take care of your teeth!
How Can I Improve My Oral Health?
One of the simplest ways to keep your teeth is to brush and floss every day. Dentists suggest doing so after every meal, but even just brushing and flossing twice a day is a good healthy habit to start. Remember that brushing only gets about 70% of the bacteria and plaque out — flossing takes care of the other 30%! Consult with your dentist to see if you should invest in a more advance toothbrush — especially if you’re more prone to cavities or oral issues.
Speaking of your dentist, you should be going in to see him or her twice a year — once every six months! They’ll give you a good, thorough cleaning, check up on your mouth’s health, make recommendations for changes to make to your cleaning habits, and keep an eye out for anything that might be potentially concerning.
Feel like you’ve gotten a new smile when you invest in your oral health. How healthy your mouth is has a ripple effect on how healthy the rest of you is too!