Keeping your smile healthy: World Oral Health Day

Posted on March 20, 2019 by kerri
While it may be a routine task like eating or sleeping, brushing your teeth can be an equally important task for your health—yes, beyond ensuring you have shiny teeth, didn’t leave any green veggies behind in your smile, and that your breath is a bit fresher. Did you know, according to the Dental Health Foundation of Ireland, that bacteria from the mouth can travel and cause infection of other parts of the body if the immune system is compromised? How about that cancer and heart disease share common risk factors to oral health diseases? Or  that medicines you take for other conditions may impact your oral health, such as by reducing saliva or changing the balance of oral microorganisms (bacteria)? [1] Beyond a pearly smile, there are many reasons it’s important to keep your mouth and teeth healthy!
Brushing, flossing and more
Many of us are good at brushing our teeth at least once or twice a day, but many of us (myself included!) skip flossing regularly. Here are the steps you should take—and not skip—to keep your mouth healthy [2].
  • Brush your teeth before bed, always. No matter how tired you are!
  • Brush properly—pay attention to areas your dental care professional has pointed out as needing more work! Move your toothbrush in small circles on each tooth to sweep plaque away.
  • Use toothpaste with fluoride. The toothpaste aisle can be confusing, but fluorinated toothpaste is the most important element as it helps protect against tooth decay (cavities). My dentist has told me that the most basic fluoride containing toothpaste is best—nothing fancy needed!
  • Floss daily. It’s easy to skip flossing because it can be difficult and feel time consuming. Using flossing “sticks” can help you get into hard to reach areas.
  • Mouthwash. I love using mouthwash for how my mouth feels afterward, but it’s not something I remember to do everyday. And, like an article from Healthline states, that’s probably because I—like many—had no idea until now what mouthwash even does! According to Healthline, mouthwash “reduces the amount of acid in the mouth, cleans hard-to-brush areas in and around the gums, and re-mineralizes the teeth.” [2] Who knew it feels so good for so many reasons?!
  • Your diet matters. Drinking plenty of water to prevent dryness in your mouth, eating hard, crunchy vegetables to keep your jaw strong, and limiting sugary and acidic foods (that can wear down tooth enamel) can all help your mouth and teeth stay healthy.
  • See your dentist regularly. Twice a year is best if you can, but every 9 months at minimum can ensure you catch dental problems early and get them corrected. And of course, if something feels off in your mouth, tell your dentist!
More details can be found at Healthline.
It can also help to make your dental care routine something you enjoy! While I used pharmacy points to buy a $200 electric toothbrush, a manual one works just as well if you’re using it properly. But my outrageously priced toothbrush makes my teeth feel really good, and provides pulses to tell me when to switch quarters of my mouth!
As well, finding a 2-3 minute podcast that can last you through your dental routine, including brushing, flossing, and mouthwash if you use it, can help it feel like less of a chore. For kids, the podcast Chompers can help motivate them—but, keep an eye on them, I recommended Chompers to a coworker, and she said her daughter loved the podcast but she just stood there with her toothbrush hanging out of her mouth, so focused on the podcast! Don’t get distracted (yes, adults, too!). 🙂
Preventing oral and chronic diseases
Per to the Dental Health Foundation of Ireland, risk factors for oral/dental and other chronic diseases include [1]:
  • Diet
  • Tobacco use (smoking or chewing)
  • Alcohol consumption
  • Oral hygiene
  • Injuries (as a “risk factor for trauma, including dental trauma” [1])
  • Stress
  • Socioeconomic factors (which may also impact ability to seek dental care).
Smile!
It takes only a few minutes a day to make sure your mouth stays healthy. And from enjoying delicious foods to talking to those around you—or even communicating with a smile!—and even helping you breathe easier at times, keeping your mouth and teeth healthy is important! If your oral care routine needs a reboot, there’s no better time than today—World Oral Health Day—to start!
Have you checked out our Etsy shop? In addition to our main shop, you can find some new items including pet tags and new medical ID bracelet styles that aren’t available on our website! Check it out!

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