Oral Hygiene. More than just your teeth.

Yes. Contrary to popular belief, oral hygiene is more than just brushing your teeth twice a day and avoiding cavities. Hygienic oral habits can help you avoid some very serious diseases in the future, in addition to strong gums and fresh breath.

Find out how healthier teeth and gums can help your body fight eight different problems.

  1. Teeth – Sensitive teeth, a signal that you may need to take a second look at what you’re eating. Your stomach secretes acidic juices that break down the food that you eat. Sometimes these acids move upward through the esophagus (acid reflux) causing heartburn. If it moves into your mouth, it can damage the enamel and make your teeth sensitive. Why this should be of a great concern is, that chronic heartburn has the tendency to lead to esophageal cancer.
    Avoid any sodas and other carbonated beverages. Pick up a bottle of water or fresh fruit juices instead. Carbonated drinks cause the stomach to expand, forcing the esophageal sphincter to open up, allowing the acidic juices to flow out of the stomach.
  1. Gums – Plaque, a common gum problem observed at dentists, roots from the bacteria from your food which is allowed to settle on the teeth. This can lead to gingivitis which is linked to tooth-loss, heart disease and pancreatic cancer, which research claims is caused when bacteria reacts with the digestive chemicals setting up conditions growth of cancer cells.
    Tackling this problem involves reducing your sugar intake, as sugar tends to aggravate gingivitis. Replacing sugar with an artificial sweetener is a viable option.
  1. Lips – Skin cancer. Not a sweet sight. According to the Skjin Cancer Foundation, your lower lip is one of the most common sites for squamous-cell carcinoma to set in. What’s worse is that the cancer is more likely to spread if it roots in your mouth.
    Protecting your lips is the obvious answer. But an ordinary lip balm mat not be good enough. You need a lip balm with an SPF value of 30. Cover your lips with a layer of this protective whenever you step out of your home for protection from UV rays.
    Studies also show that green tea anti-oxidants help reduce the risk of skin cancer by nearly 70%. Try sipping on three to four cups of green tea everyday.
  1. Cold Sores – Ugly and painful. But that’s not the least of the problems the Herpes virus cause. The Herpes Simple 1 lies dormant in the nervous system until it causes a cold sore. And when the virus reactivates, it may trigger a response in the coronary artery which can lead to a clot.
    Consider yoga or other ways to fight your stress, as stress is capable of bringing forward a cold sore and a heart attack.
  1. Breath – It’s not always your mouth that is to be blamed. More often than not, it is your sinuses that play the role of the villain. Inflamed nasal passages can lead to bad breath in two ways. One, a stuffy nose forces you to breathe through the mouth, drying the saliva which would otherwise kill the bacteria which causes bad breath. Two, the mucous that slides down the back of your nose, onto the back of your tongue, feeds the bacteria that breed the compounds causing bad breath.
    Gargling with a mouthwash before going to bed can kill the bacteria in your mouth that cause bad breath. Or you can benefit by visiting an ENBT specialist if the problem persists.
  1. Painless bump – No pain, no problem. Right? Absolutely not! Look at your tongue for any signs of a red or white patch or an ulcer or any thickening of tissue. IT can be a signal of oral cancer.
    Make an appointment with your dentist and get the bump screened as soon as possible.
  1. Patches – Possible colonies of bacteria, stained by coffee, tea or tobacco.
    Use a tongue scrapper/cleaner to remove these patches and prevent further growth. Antibiotics prescribed by your doctor/dentist can help.
  1. Redness and pain – If your tongue suddenly looks as red as a cherry, it is not something to be taken lightly. Glossitis (a painful; or swollen tongue) could be the cause. More common among men as compared to women. Major causes are vitamin deficiency, infection, smoking and drinking or even an allergy to certain food products.
    Visit your doctor to identify the root cause of the problem. He may prescribe certain antibiotics or vitamin supplements to help.

Now you know that a visit to a dentist or looking after your oral hygiene does more than just make your teeth and gums healthy.

A healthy smile can so often mean a healthy body.

For more information on diet, health and nutrition, please email Harpinder Gill at harpinder.gill@ahirc.com. You are welcome to email us with any question on any health topic. Please allow 24 hours for an answer, and if your query seems requiring an urgent response, expect to hear from us before that time.

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One thought on “Oral Hygiene. More than just your teeth.

  1. Nanette Chupp August 6, 2012 at 12:14 PM Reply

    Cold sores are caused by a virus. Anti-retrovirals also work agains cold sores. `,;.:

    With appreciation http://www.healthmedicinelab.com/lyme-disease-rash/

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