Happy Mouth, Happy Body
Practically from birth, we’re taught to brush our teeth once in the morning and once at night and to floss every day. Perhaps at some point, our habits take over, and advice about dental care becomes merely background noise.
So, we brush our teeth routinely, often too fast and too roughly, and may only brush in the morning before facing the day.
But researchers have discovered that many of the other body systems are directly affected by what is happening in our mouths. For example, growing evidence tells us that periodontitis, specifically the bacteria caused by gum disease, causes hardening of the arteries--heart disease. This discovery makes sense when you think about it in a certain light. If you consider your mouth to be a big, gaping wound in your head, and also recognize it as a doorway into your body, it stands to reason that if the wound (your mouth) gets infected, the infection will spread in some form to other parts of the body. And there is mounting evidence that this is what it does on a much more significant scale than previously thought.
Instead of thinking of brushing and flossing as oral care, perhaps we should think of it as wound care. As long as the ‘wound’ isn’t permitted to become infected, the other systems aren’t in danger of secondary problems as a result.
When we get back to the subject of brushing and flossing with this new mindset, the patient can think of themselves in the role of caregiver to the mouth. As with any other health issue, senior adults, those in poor health or who suffer from chronic conditions are weakened and more likely to need extra care, so their ‘doorway’ doesn’t become infected and spread the damage. They are also the least likely to have the energy, skill, and strength to brush correctly, as well as being the ones most adversely affected if there is an oral compromise.
Those of us in moderately good health may not be suffering from the effects of age or poor health, but may not be as mindful as we could that allowing this part of our body to become infected for any reason could trigger other health problems.
Thus, routine brushing and flossing become anything but routine. It becomes a guardianship to protect the mouth, and therefore many of the other body systems, from falling prey to diseases and health problems.
It’s with this in mind that we hope our patients will rekindle their devotion to oral care, by brushing at least twice a day, flossing before bed, oral irrigation, regular cleanings and checkups, and avoiding things which can damage their beautiful smiles. Your heart--and the rest of your body-- will love you for it!
If you need a gentle, caring dental team, please call our office at (623) 362-2550. We’ll give you the very best dental care we can!