Health Minute: Smart Snacking
Snacking on candy corn and candied apples? You probably know that sugary foods can cause cavities or gum disease. But did you know that oral hygiene is also important for your overall health?
Why is oral hygiene important?
Healthy gums help prevent the entry of bacteria into the bloodstream, while the saliva in your mouth contains enzymes that help destroy bacteria and viruses, offering important protection against infection.
What types of health problems might occur if someone has poor oral hygiene?
Poor dental hygiene can cause periodontal disease, or gum disease which creates a port for bacteria to enter your bloodstream and can eventually infect the entire jawbone.
Poor dental hygiene can cause numerous other health issues, including:
· Breathing problems like pneumonia or COPD
· Endocarditis or swelling of the heart
· Heart disease
· Inflammation in other areas of the body
· Rheumatoid arthritis
· Increased risk of pregnancy complications like premature birth or low birth weight
What are some tips for good dental hygiene?
Try these tips to keep your mouth healthy and clean.
· Buy toothpaste with the ADA (American Dental Association) seal and fluoride in it.
· Brush teeth, mouth and gums twice daily.
· Floss at least twice daily.
· Eat more natural foods like vegetables, fruit, nuts and lean meat. Avoid packaged snacks and sweets.
· Limit intake of sugary drinks like soda, sports drinks and juices.
· Visit your dentist once every six months.
If you notice any pain or discomfort in your mouth, see your dentist as soon as possible.