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Healthy Habits: The Importance of Good Oral Health for Your Overall Health

Most people know that good oral and dental hygiene can help prevent bad breath, tooth decay, and gum disease—and prevent tooth loss. But what you might not realize is that your oral health may also be linked to your overall health.

Like many areas of your body, you mouth is full of mostly harmless bacteria. However, there are also harmful bacteria that can be lurking around. Most of the time, our immune system helps to keep us safe from the harmful bacteria on our mouths with a little help from us, including flossing and brushing. Without good oral hygiene, the harmful bacteria can lead to infections, which can lead to other problems, including bad breath, gum disease, and tooth decay.

Studies suggest that bacteria in your mouth and the inflammation associated with gum disease (or periodontitis) might play a role in other diseases that have nothing to do with your mouth, such as heart disease, stroke, and preterm labor. Also, your mouth can also be a window into what's going on in the rest of your body. According to the Academy of General Dentistry, more than 90% of all systemic diseases produce oral signs and symptoms, which is why it’s important to be vigilant about your health!

For your overall health, practice good oral hygiene every day. Here are some steps to help keep your mouth healthy:

  • Brush your teeth at least twice a day with fluoride toothpaste

  • Floss every day

  • Eat a healthy diet and limit snacking

  • Replace your toothbrush every three to four months or sooner if bristles are frayed

  • Schedule regular dental checkups and cleanings

  • Avoid tobacco use

A healthy mouth may help you ward off medical problems. Always make sure to contact your dentist when you have problems with your oral health. Practicing healthy habits can benefit your overall health!

Family Dentistry of Braintree is a tradition for personal dental care for over 60 years. Richard and Philip Struzziero are second generation family dentists serving the South Shore area from their convenient location on Washington Street in Braintree, Massachusetts.

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