We all love a clean window. We can see clearly through it. Same for the mouth. A clean mouth tells a love story. The love for ourselves, because taking good care of your body not only improves your health, but also increases your self-esteem.
Why, then most people dislike the daily ritual of getting rid of plaque: brushing twice a day, flossing once a day, and for an extra clean feeling, daily use of an irrigation device (very beneficial for folks with crown and bridge work) or mouthwash.
Here are the top three contenders:
I don’t have the time.
I know, time is precious, but so are you and your teeth! The shower is a great place to brush and floss, and you most likely take one every day. Why not combine the activities?
Flossing hurts and it makes my gums bleed!
Now, that is a problem. Bleeding gums are not healthy! When dealing with dental problems, waiting is not the right answer.
The floss always shreds.
You may have a cavity or a filling that needs replacement. You should attend to it sooner rather than later.
Currently, most dental and medical professionals and their respective boards agree that the mouth is indeed part of the body and could be the first place where systemic diseases show up. The list of diseases, along with the conditions and medications associated with them (that can affect your oral health) is very, very, very long.
Among all, the correlation between dry mouth and increased risk for cavities, smoking and diabetes and increased risk for gum disease, is particularly strong. Since gum disease has a large inflammation component, it may, when left untreated, also increase the risk for heart disease, stroke, kidney disease and in pregnant women - premature births and low-birth weight babies. Systemic conditions also affect the response to periodontal treatment (surgical and non-surgical) and should be taken into consideration when a dental treatment plan is presented to the patient with all of its positive and negative sides.
A little less known but very alarming fact: you could pass the bacteria causing periodontal (gum) disease and cavities onto your loved ones through saliva exchanged when sharing a drinking glass, utensils, or a kiss. So, having good oral hygiene is not only good for your physical and mental health, but for the health of your precious ones too.
From an economic standpoint, the better shape you are in, the less medical and dental visits and less expenses you will incur. The money you save by doing what is good for you, can be spent doing what you love.
Ivelina Dean, D.M.D., M.D.S.