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How To Improve Oral Health

Many of us never think about our oral health very much, but it is just as important as our overall body health. The health of your mouth directly impacts the rest of your body. This article provides simple tips for improving and maintaining good oral health.

Our mouth naturally contains both good and bad bacteria, some are beneficial while others are harmful. Without proper oral hygiene, there is usually an unbalance of bacteria with a buildup of excessive and harmful bacteria in the mouth which leads to gingivitis (inflammation of the gums), and periodontal (gum) disease. Periodontal disease is the root of various health problems including type 2 diabetes, heart disease, dementia [1], some cancers, and respiratory disease. For example, oral bacteria in the mouth can lead to inflammation within various parts of your body via the circulatory system, leading to increased risk of heart disease or stroke.

Impact on overall health

What you eat affects the health of your mouth and the health of your mouth is affected by the nutrients from the foods you consume. Consuming a poor diet which include large amounts of sugar (cakes, cookies, candy), starch (chips, pretzels), and drinks with low acidity (such as regular and diet sodas, and fruit juices), can lead to type 2 diabetes. And diabetes can then lead to gum disease. Also, with uncontrollable diabetes there is a good chance that an individual will encounter severe gingivitis resulting in mild deficiencies in vitamin C and vitamin B9 (folate) [2].

How to improve and maintain your oral health

  • Focus on changing your lifestyle by eating more plant-based (fruits and vegetables) or whole foods instead of foods high in refined sugars and starch. Avoid added sugar as much as possible. Bacteria thrives on sugar.

  • Brush and floss daily. Flossing may even be more important than brushing because it is removing bacteria between your teeth. Note, wait at least 30-60 minutes after meal before brushing. When you cannot brush immediately following a meal or snack, drink water to help rinse the mouth and teeth.

  • If you have periodontal inflammation, vitamin C and borage oil supplements may help get things back on track or reduce inflammation [3][4].

  • Have regular checkups at least twice per year and follow your dentist's instructions regarding your overall oral health care.

A high abundance of oral bacteria can have negative consequences on your oral health and leave you at risk for certain diseases. Fortunately, it is never too late to add these daily practices to improve your oral health as well as your overall health.


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