How to Improve Oral Health and Overall Health—at the Same Time!
While you may have been told (more than once!) that oral health impacts overall health, many still don’t understand the extent of this relationship. Poor oral hygiene has been linked to long-term health concerns including heart disease, respiratory health, and even neurological disorders.
Contrarily, those who practice a healthy lifestyle are able to maintain proper oral health more easily. That’s because many of the same foods and behaviors that result in good health also keep your teeth in the best shape possible. Plus, regular dental visits have the same effect as regular doctor visits: identifying and treating a small problem before it grows into a big one. That means those who prioritize consistent dental and medical check-ups typically enjoy total health—as well as save themselves from invasive treatment.
Here are some of the most significant areas in which oral health and overall health coincide, and what you can do to improve both at the same time!
Untreated plaque and bacteria can contribute to the hardening of arteries, which in turn causes stroke, heart attack, and other cardiovascular disease. These outcomes increase with hypertension, which is also linked to gum disease.
- Improve it: Eat lean meats, plant-based proteins, whole grains, legumes, and fruits and vegetables. These act as secondary plaque-removing treatments between teeth cleanings and help your heart function optimally.
Similarly, respiratory infections including pneumonia and bronchitis can be exacerbated by excess bacteria in the mouth.
- Improve it: Boost your immune system by exercising regularly. Aim for 3-5, 30-minute sessions of resistance and cardio training per week to maintain healthy lung function. Plus, breathing in through your nose and out of your mouth during exercise promotes the proper amount of saliva to protect your gums and teeth.
Women who are pregnant are at a higher risk for periodontal disease. If untreated, this can contribute to some cases of low birth weight or premature birth.
- Improve it: Take a comprehensive prenatal vitamin combined with a healthy lifestyle to ensure you’re getting the proper nutrients for oral and overall health. Then, schedule regular cleanings to prevent complications from gum disease.
Yes, really! We already know that a straight, white smile is also an orally healthy one, but a positive perception of our teeth can also have a profound effect on mental health.
- Improve it: Consider cosmetic dentistry. Russo dentistry offers a range of cosmetic dentistry treatments to keep your teeth looking their best. See our whitening treatments, porcelain veneers, and other services in action, then speak with a dentist to determine which are best for you.
Ideal oral hygiene effects essentially every other system in your body—and vice-versa! Maintain both as second nature by simply incorporating these habits into your daily routine.
Keep in mind that daily habits need to be reinforced with regular specialist visits and teeth cleanings, too. For the same reasons you can’t be your own doctor, you also can’t be your own dentist!