Brush your teeth for a full two minutes after every meal! You have probably heard a variation of this admonition since you were a child. What’s the big deal though? Is it really going to make a difference if you skip your nightly brush, or try to slide by with a quick 30 second rinse? While you can get away with being lax occasionally, the effects of a lazy dental regimen can add up. The reasons for brushing your teeth twice a day go far beyond simply keeping your pearly whites smile ready.
Bacteria – It may surprise you to know that your mouth plays host to over 600 types of bacteria. Some of this bacteria is the good kind, intended to fight the nasty kind, some of which can lead to infections and diseases. However, the good guy bacteria can’t do the job single-handedly. You are probably most familiar with the type of bacteria that causes plaque build up. If this plaque is not removed daily by brushing and flossing, it can harden into calculus and ultimately eat through the enamel of the tooth, causing painful cavities. The modern diet, which is rich in sugars is especially attractive to plaque-causing bacteria.
Gingivitis – Unchecked plaque allowed to harden and accumulate can ultimately lead to gum disease, such as gingivitis. Caused by the uncontrolled plaque and tarter, the symptoms of gum disease involve bleeding and swollen gums. Many are able to ignore these though, as it causes little or no discomfort. When it is left untreated, it can lead to chronic bad breath as well as opening the door to periodontal disease.
Periodontitis – Gingivitis causes the gums to pull away from the teeth. These pockets then collect food particles which create a breeding ground for bacteria. Before long, you are dealing with cavities, abscesses, bone loss, and halitosis. More extreme cases involve loose teeth or tooth loss. Hot and cold food temperatures cause pain to those suffering from periodontal disease and sugary foods are also extremely uncomfortable. Ice cream, for instance, isn’t worth the pain to many sufferers.
Overall Health – Your mouth is one of the main portals to your whole body, so it makes sense to guard it well. Ongoing research indicates that periodontitis has been linked to other health conditions such as heart problems, strokes, diabetes, respiratory infections, dementia, and even some types of cancer. Although researchers have not yet pinpointed the exact processes that lead from poor dental management to some of these conditions, they know that the correlation is undeniable.
The key to preventing these conditions is simple and not at all time-consuming, especially when you consider the health hassles you are preventing. Regular brushing, thorough flossing, healthy eating, and regular checkups can help you keep your smile bright and your breath fresh, but it can also improve your overall health and possibly help you live longer.Share This: