Those with gum disease are at an increased risk for developing heart disease, warns Dr Karishma Jaradi, head dental surgeon at Dentzz Dental.
Your mouth, just like other areas of the body, is ground zero for bacteria and is an entry point to the digestive and respiratory tracts.
The body's natural defenses and good oral practices, such as daily brushing and flossing, can keep bacteria under care control.
Improper oral hygiene can lead to the bacteria multiplying, thereby causing tooth decay and gum disease.
Oral diseases can adversely affect you in several aspects of your life including your personal relationships and self-confidence.
If untreated, it can cause pain, disfigurement, anxiety, chronic infections, thereby affecting your daily eating habits and sleep.
Research has shown that oral diseases are one of the most prevalent ailments the world over and dental hygiene is an indicator of your overall health and wellbeing.
Approximately 50% of the world population of over 30 is affected by gum disease (periodontal), which is the root cause of tooth loss among adults.
Studies suggest that those with periodontal disease are at an increased risk for developing cardiovascular disease, endocarditis and pneumonia.
Gum disease has been also linked to premature birth and low birth weight.
Your quest into a healthy oral regimen should start with a few changes. Here's how to go about it:
1. Healthy diet
Unhealthy diets can cause tooth decay and gum disease.
Reduce your sugar intake and try to avoid alcohol consumption and smoking.
Consumption of alcohol and tobacco can lead to dry mouth, inflammation, enamel damage, staining and even put you at risk of oral cancer.
Drink plenty of water.
Floss every time you eat.
Flossing reaches places your toothbrush can't. It extracts bacteria, reduces gum disease and bad breath by removing plaque.
3. Clean your tongue
Your tongue can hold food residue. Brush or scrape it, and do an oral rinse with a fluoride toothpaste to help keep your breath fresh.
Avoid alcoholic mouthwashes as they can lead to dryness and damage sensitive tissues.
4. Stay hydrated
Healthy drinks are as important as healthy foods.
Reduce intake of sugary drinks as they can contribute to tooth decay.
Stay hydrated with water as it can keep your mouth moisturised, neutralise any leftover acid and wash away debris from food and beverages.
5. Brush twice
Brush twice a day for two to three minutes.
Start underneath the gums and move upward. Brush the inside, outside and chewing surfaces as well.
Avoid eating for at least 30 minutes after brushing as it can damage your enamel. Discard a toothbrush after three months.
Your best recourse lies in visiting a dentist for regular check-ups and dental cleanings.
A dentist can help you identify underlying issues that you may go unnoticed.
S/he can examine your teeth, gums, mouth and guide you on maintaining good oral health.
The expert can educate you on how to keep your teeth and mouth healthy through effective oral hygiene habits, including how to brush your teeth and floss correctly, provide any necessary treatment and work with you to help maintain your oral and overall health.