Along with the cold weather comes the increased risk of picking up a seasonal illness like a common cold or flu. While there is no direct evidence that brushing and flossing actually help protect you from a cold or the flu, good oral health decreases the likelihood of other ailments that have an effect. That’s why it’s necessary to keep your teeth and gums healthy throughout the year but especially when you’re more likely to come into contact with germs and viruses.
How does oral care help you stay healthier?
We all know that brushing and flossing help prevent things like cavities, gum disease, gingivitis, and stained teeth, but there are other health benefits as well. Cavities and stained teeth are manageable through dental treatments, but untreated gum disease can turn into periodontal disease, which can be more serious. Plaque build-up can cause periodontitis that allows an increased amount of bacteria to enter your bloodstream through your mouth and affect the rest of your body. This has been linked to illnesses like pneumonia and an increased risk of heart disease. This also affects your immune system and how readily your body can fight off illnesses like the common cold or flu as well as infections.
The bottom line is the fewer bacteria in your mouth, the better – with the less likely hood of a dry mouth, sore throat and depressed immune system. Keep a cleaning regiment that involves brushing and flossing daily and regularly visiting your dentist for checkups and cleaning appointments.
Is diet a part of your oral health care routine?
What you eat can have a profound effect on your body and your oral health—eating lots of sugary processed foods isn’t good for your teeth, gums, immune system and more. Sugar can promote bacteria, which weakens your immune system and can lead to you getting sick. Fresh vegetables and greens are less likely to encourage bacterial growth while being healthy for your body, and especially in the case of crunchy veggies, they’ll even help clean your teeth as you eat. Eating healthy is great for your oral and overall health.
Aside from eating healthy, remember to drink lots of water or clear beverages (not clear pop or soda). Water acts to rinse your mouth while it flushes pollutants from your system and is one of the best things you can put into your body.
Other aspects of oral care that can affect your health
Even if you’re brushing and flossing correctly in between bi-annual appointments with your dentist, there are other things you should also be paying attention to.
- Make sure you’re brushing and flossing your teeth correctly because doing it wrong might be making things worse.
- DDon’tshare toothbrushes – you’d be surprised at how common this is – because the last thing you want is to mingle bacteria or spread germs.
- You also want to make sure your toothbrush isn’t worn out because it won’t work correctly anymore. Generally, a toothbrush should be replaced every couple of months or when the bristles start to get worn and stick out sideways.
- After you finish brushing, rinse your toothbrush under hot water to kill bacteria and then keep it somewhere standing up so it’s able to dry thoroughly.
- Wash your hands before brushing, flossing, or touching your mouth in general.
- If you’re able to, visit your dentist at least twice per year for a cleaning appointment and dental checkup. It’s essential to remove the plaque from your teeth and gum line that your at-home care routine just can’t take care of.
Ask your dentist whether oral hygiene is linked to a healthier body, and they’ll tell you that it undoubtedly is. When it comes to staying healthy in the winter months, a strong immune system is key and having a clean mouth is one way to help make sure that yours is up to the task. Rinse, brush, floss, eat healthily and visit your dentist for cleanings – it’s usually that simple.