A Healthy Smile, A Healthy Body

Regular checkups with your dentist can do more than keep your teeth healthy – it can keep your body healthy too. There’s a strong correlation between one’s oral health and overall health. The hygiene of your mouth can greatly affect the rest of your body.

Healthy Smile

Bacteria that accumulates on teeth may make the gums susceptible to infection. In defense, your immune system attacks the infection leading to the gums being inflamed. The inflammation continues until the infection is stabilized. If left untreated, it can erode gums and teeth resulting in gum disease (known as periodontitis) and problems with other body parts.

Gum Disease and Health Issues

Research from the Academy of General Dentistry shows a link between gum disease and other health problems, such as diabetes, digestive problems, and heart disease. Women with gum disease are also more likely to give birth to premature or low weight babies.

Other studies reveal that most systemic diseases – diseases affecting the whole body – involve oral complications, such as mouth ulcers, swollen gums, and dry mouth. Systemic diseases include diabetes, heart disease, kidney disease, leukemia, and oral cancer.

Gum Disease and Diabetes

The gum disease/diabetes relationship may be the strongest one of all. Inflammation originating from the mouth may negatively affect the body’s ability to manage sugar levels. People with diabetes have problems controlling blood sugar levels since their body cells don’t break down sugar the way healthy body cells do. This results in extremely high blood sugar and insulin levels. To make matters more complicated, gum disease and diabetes appear to have a two-way relationship. High blood sugar levels can also promote infections to grow, such as gum infections.

Gum Disease and Heart Disease

Researchers at the American Academy of Periodontology found that people with gum disease are two times more likely to suffer from coronary artery disease than those without it. The two diseases have a number of common risk factors, such as being overweight, unhealthy eating habits, and smoking.

If you suffer from gum disease, oral bacteria can make its way to your bloodstream and lead to infection in your heart and lungs. The bacteria can also stick to the insides leading to blockages and blood clots to form. All these factors greatly increase one’s risk of having heart complications, such as heart disease, heart attacks, and strokes.

Establishing Good Hygiene Habits

You can minimize potential health complications by:

  • Brushing your teeth for 2-3 minutes after every meal with fluoride toothpaste.
  • Flossing daily to remove plaque and using mouth wash to get rid of bacteria.
  • Eating plenty of healthy foods, such as fruits and vegetables, to get your nutrients.
  • Avoiding cigarettes and alcohol, which increase one’s risk of developing gum disease and oral cancer.
  • Visiting your dentist annually for cleanings and to check for cavities and gum problems.

Following these steps can not only protect your teeth, it can also save your life!

Wisdom Teeth: To Pull Or Not To Pull?

Wisdom tooth removal

The wisdom teeth grow at the back of your gums and are the last teeth to come through. Most people have four wisdom teeth – one in each corner.

Wisdom teeth usually grow through the gums during the late teens or early twenties. By this time, the other 28 adult teeth are usually in place, so there isn’t always enough room in the mouth for the wisdom teeth to grow properly.

Wisdom Teeth

Why are wisdom teeth removed?

Your wisdom teeth don’t usually need to be removed if they’re impacted but aren’t causing any problems. This is because there’s no proven benefit of doing this and it carries the risk of complications.

Sometimes, wisdom teeth that have become impacted or haven’t fully broken through the surface of the gum can cause dental problems.

Should you Floss Before or After Brushing?

However, unlike how often you should floss which is pretty much unanimously agreed upon as at least once a day, this is one of those questions that is argued both ways and there is more variance in the answer given.

Should you Floss Before

The argument for flossing before brushing

Reasons given for flossing and interdental cleaning before brushing the teeth boil down to the thought and belief that by doing it before brushing; you are cleaning the interdental space and gaps within your teeth, disrupting the plaque and food particles so that they can be more easily brushed away when you brush your teeth.

Flossing after brushing

If you floss after you brush, there will be less plaque for you to get rid of since some of it would have been removed when you brushed. This makes flossing less time to consume and feel like less work for people. Some dentists also suggest brushing first since this is the way most of us have been taught. And since there’s no hard evidence as to which order is better, they say we should just continue what we’ve been doing before.

Oral Health And Mental Health – Is There A Connection?

There is a close connection between the health of the body and that of the mind. There is further evidence to suggest those who experience mental illness also suffer from poor oral health.

Some of the most common mental illnesses that can have a negative impact on a person’s oral health include anxiety and panic attacks, depression, eating disorders, obsessive-compulsive disorder, self-harm, schizophrenia, and psychosis.

Mental illness and oral health

Neglect: Research has shown that those suffering from mental illnesses tend to avoid dental care so much that their oral hygiene is neglected. This can result in gum disease and tooth decay.

Anxiety: Many people suffer from some form of dental phobia and as a result, stop seeing their dentist regularly. Infrequent dental visits have a severe impact on oral health.

7 Foods That Will Naturally Whiten Your Smile

White teeth are generally the preserve of the very rich or Americans. No more. Founder of Honestly Healthy Food, Natasha Corrett, has teamed up with premium toothpaste brand BlanX to find ways to naturally brighten your teeth. The foods below can help you gain, or maintain, a perfect smile. Some are a little surprising…

7 Foods

Strawberries

And you thought all those gleaming white smiles at Wimbledon were the result of expensive dental work. Strawberries are fantastic natural teeth whiteners because they contain Malic Acid, which removes surface stains from teeth and whitens the enamel.

Apples

An apple a day keeps the dentist away. Crispy apples strengthen the gums and their high water content increases the production of saliva, dispersing any bacteria in the mouth. And – like several foods on this list – apples function as a naturally abrasive scrub for the teeth.

Celery

Because it’s so stringy it makes a perfect natural dental floss. That’s a joke – please don’t floss your teeth with celery. But, like apples, the high water content of celery brings out that bacteria-washing salvia in force.

Carrots

Alas, carrots won’t help you see in the dark. (That’s an old World War Two myth.) However eating carrots regularly could help whiten your teeth. You know the drill by now. High water content, brings out salvia, bye bye bacteria.

Apples

Chewing this hard fruit will keep your choppers in tip-top shape. The apple’s crispy texture scrubs your teeth and gums, while its high malic acid content helps to remove stains while increasing saliva production
Remember, an apple a day keeps the cavities away.

Carrots

Carrots are a fantastic natural teeth cleaner. Similar to apples, its crunchy abrasive texture polishes teeth and removes surface stains. Carrots also encourage saliva production to protect teeth against cavity-causing bacteria.

Cheese

This one is particularly gratifying. Hard cheese is full of calcium, which strengthens teeth and gums. Plus, being mostly colourless, cheese won’t stain your teeth in the manner of, say, coffee.

5 Home Remedies To Soothe A Toothache

A toothache is a pain in and around the teeth and jaws. Tooth decay, an infection, loose or broken fillings, or receding gums can cause it.

Home Remedies

Cold compress or ice pack

A cold compress or an ice pack can help ease dental pain, especially if a toothache is due to injury or swollen gums.

A person can try holding the ice pack or a bag of frozen peas, for example, against the outside of the cheek above the painful tooth for a few minutes at a time.

Saltwater mouthwash

Rinsing the mouth with warm salt water helps to loosen debris lodged in cavities or between teeth. It may also reduce swelling, boost healing, and relieve a sore throat.

A salt water rinse can be made by dissolving 1 teaspoon of salt in a glass of warm water and swish around in the mouth for about 30 seconds before spitting out. This process can be repeated as often as needed.

Painkillers

Over-the-counter medication, such as acetaminophen and ibuprofen, can provide temporary pain relief for a toothache.

Garlic

Garlic has been widely used for medicinal purposes throughout history. It contains a compound called allicin, which accounts for its powerful antibacterial properties.

A fresh clove of garlic should first be crushed and then mixed with a little salt, and the mixture applied to the affected tooth.

Peppermint tea

Like cloves, peppermint has numbing properties that can soothe a toothache. Menthol, which gives peppermint its minty flavor and smell, is also known to be antibacterial.

How to Instantly Cure Bad Breath

  • give up smoking
  • eat a healthy, balanced diet and avoid eating strongly flavored or spicy food
  • cut down on sugary food and drink as it can increase the number of bacteria in your mouth
  • reduce your alcohol consumption
  • cut down on coffee
  • drink plenty of water to help prevent your mouth becoming dry
  • chew sugar-free gum after eating to stimulate the flow of saliva – this will help clean away any remaining food particles

You should visit your dentist for regular check-ups. Having regular dental check-ups will ensure any plaque and calculus – previously known as tartar – is removed from your teeth, particularly in areas that are difficult to reach.

Fluoride: Is It Really Good For You?

Fluoride is a naturally occurring mineral found in water in varying amounts, depending on where in the UK you live.

It can help prevent tooth decay, which is why it’s added to many brands of toothpaste and, in some areas, to the water supply through a process called fluoridation.

Fluoride

Fluoride toothpaste

Brushing your teeth thoroughly with fluoride toothpaste is one of the most effective ways of preventing tooth decay.

A range of toothpaste is available containing different levels of fluoride. The amount of fluoride in the toothpaste can be found on the side of the tube and is measured in parts per million (ppm).

Is fluoride safe?

There have been some concerns that fluoride may be linked to a variety of health conditions. Reviews of the risks have so far found no convincing evidence to support these concerns. However, a condition called dental fluorosis can sometimes occur if a child’s teeth are exposed to too much fluoride when they’re developing.

What’s The Best Age For Braces?

The purpose of orthodontic treatment is to make the best of your teeth.

This includes straightening your teeth so you’re able to care for your teeth and gums more easily, and improving your bite so you can eat more comfortably. And your smile will benefit, too.

Treatment almost always involves using braces to straighten crooked, crowded or protruding teeth, close gaps between teeth, and correct the bite so the top and bottom teeth meet when the mouth is closed.

What’s the best age to have braces?

The ideal age to have braces is usually around 12 or 13, while a child’s mouth and jaws are still growing.

The opportunity for improvement in an adult is more limited and treatment is likely to take longer.