You may be surprised to hear it, but researchers have found a lot of evidence over the last 20 years that the health of the mouth and body are linked. That means that the same habits that affect your overall health affect your mouth as well!
As a dentist in San Diego who provides comprehensive care, we’ve seen firsthand how some of the daily lifestyle choices people make can affect their teeth and gums. Since the connection between oral health and the body has never been clearer, we wrote a blog to explain how five lifestyle choices impact you!
Both smoking and chewing tobacco increase the risk of developing oral cancers, both in the throat and soft tissues of the mouth, such as the tongue, lips and floor of the mouth. Not to mention tobacco stains!
The good news is that there are so many effective smoking cessation tools available today. Quitting isn’t easy, but it is worth it.
Unfortunately, sugar has become a large part of the modern diet and affects both the teeth and gums in different ways. Here’s how:
- Teeth – This one is no surprise! Consuming sugar can cause cavities when bacteria in mouth consume it and produce acids that eat away at the enamel.
- Gums – This one is more surprising because researchers have only discovered the link between the gums and overall health recently. Many studies have shown that diabetes is linked to gum disease, so dentists recommend that patients with diabetes work closely with their medical doctors to keep it well-controlled.
Remember, you don’t have to give up sugars completely, but try to keep them to a minimum as much as possible! Simply cutting back on sodas, juice, candy and other sweet foods can make a big difference.
While you’re cutting back on sugar, why not add a few foods that will actually benefit your oral health?
- Fruits and Vegetables – Vitamins, minerals and fiber all work together to reduce inflammation of the gums.
- Green Tea – Green tea has anti-inflammatory compounds that are great for gum health!
- Dairy – In addition to having calcium for strong teeth, dairy products contain a protein called casein that counteracts harmful acids in the mouth and helps prevent cavities.
This goes without saying, but it’s so important that we’ll say it anyway: Doing well with brushing and flossing will have a huge impact on your oral health.
So much of hygiene habits are just that…habits. Although they’re notoriously hard to change, don’t be discouraged if you aren’t perfect at brushing and flossing!
For example, if you aim to floss every day but only wind up doing it five times a week, your teeth and gums will still thank you. Do the best you can and don’t hesitate to ask for help from your dentist or hygienist at your next dental visit.
Which brings us to our last recommendation!
Regular Dental Care
Seeing your family dentist in San Diego for regular checkups and cleanings is the best way to catch problems when they’re small and easier to fix. Having a dentist monitor your teeth and gums is a great way to prevent the need for more extensive dental work down the road!
About the Author
Dr. Greg Friedman and Dr. Kory Grahl are general, restorative and cosmetic dentists who are passionate about providing their community with outstanding dental care. They know that lifestyle choices affect their patient’s oral health and always educate them about the best way to have a healthy smile for life. They can be reached for questions through their website or at (858)-386-4580.