Karen Watts, dental hygienist in burke va, treating patient

Regular visits to your dentist do more than keeps your smile attractive – they inform your dentist about your overall health.

Recent research indicates that the condition of your mouth reflects the health of your body as a whole. For example, when your mouth is healthy, chances are your overall health is good too. On the other hand, if you have poor oral health, you may have other health problems.

Neglect of your teeth and gums and overall poor oral hygiene can actually lead to other health problems, including:

Oral pain and facial discomfort.   According to the Office of the Surgeon General, this may be due to infection of the gums that support the teeth and can lead to tooth loss. Gingivitis is form of gum disease that causes inflamed gums.  It’s an early stage of gum disease with symptoms such as gums that are swollen, puffy, receding, sometimes tender, or that bleed easily.   Gingivitis and advanced gum disease affect more than 75 percent of the U.S. population.

Problems with the heart and other major organs.  Infections in the mouth can affect the heart and heart valves can become inflamed by bacterial endocarditis, an infection of the inner surface of the heart or the heart valves caused by bacteria usually found in the mouth, intestinal tract or urinary tract.

Digestion problems. Digestion actually begins with physical and chemical processes that occur in the mouth.  Problems here can lead to intestinal failure, irritable bowel syndrome and other digestive disorders.

At Dental Care Burke, we believe in prevention first to help avoid treatment later.  There are things you can do regularly from home to prevent disease and decay.  Then with professional dental cleanings with regular exams you can maintain a healthy mouth and a beautiful smile.

It all starts with what you do at home.

Brushing your teeth two times a day or as frequently needed is one of the best ways to keep your teeth strong and your mouth clean.   The best way to brush is in a circular fashion with the toothbrush at a 45-degree angle to the gum line.  Soft bristle brushes are recommended so as not to wear down the enamel, which is the hard outer surface layer of your teeth that serves to protect against tooth decay.

Brushing your teeth reduces the build up of plaque which is a sticky deposit on teeth in which bacteria rapidly grows.  This prevents cavities, tooth loss and other tooth diseases, most especially tooth decay – which is the decomposition of the tooth due to cavities.

Flossing is another important method of maintaining good oral hygiene.  When you floss, you’re able to reach particles of food that had become lodged between the teeth, which a toothbrush cannot reach.  If the particles of food are not removed, plaque will form and cause tooth decay, cavities and gingivitis.   Flossing is best done before brushing your teeth at least once a day or as needed.

The tongue is another part of your mouth that should not be neglected from cleaning.  If not regularly cleaned, bacteria form on the tongue and can contribute to plaque formation.   Brushing your tongue and gargling with mouthwash cleanses the tongue and eliminates bad breath.

Keep your oral health in great shape by scheduling regular checkups with Dr. Bernard Lynch or a professional dentist or hygienist at Dental Care Burke!