Can Looking After Your Teeth Really Improve Wellbeing?

We all know that looking after our teeth is important for good oral health, but very few realise that it is just as important for physical and mental health as well. Health authorities’ advice on how to keep teeth clean includes brushing at least twice a day, flossing between teeth, reducing the amount of sugar in the daily diet and attending regular dental examinations with a professional dentist in Tunbridge Wells.

When all is said and done, how well do we take care of our teeth? Insights from a nationwide survey are a bit worrying. It seems that, despite advice from those in the know, the practical reality is that many are skipping out on essential oral hygiene obligations such as the twice-daily brushing.

Of those polled, 26 per cent admitted to brushing only once a day and 25 per cent forgo brushing just before going to bed. Further figures reveal that 66 per cent of adults have noticeable plaque deposits on teeth, 31 per cent show signs of dental decay and a whopping 74 per cent have had teeth removed. All of the above problems are easily avoided by following oral care guidelines.

But looking after teeth and gums is not just good news for oral health, good dental health has an all-pervading influence over the quality of life.

Why it is important to look after oral hygiene

The cause of most dental diseases is the lack of proper oral hygiene. Oral hygiene is well-maintained when you brush and floss as per guidelines and have teeth and gums routinely checked for problems. If any of the oral hygiene obligations are left out or not carried out stringently, this creates an ideal environment in which bad oral bacteria thrive.

It is when there is an imbalance in the microbiome – when the bad outweighs the good – that problems begin to arise. These problems are not only limited to the mouth, but extend to the rest of the body.

Medical studies have found that people who have severe gum disease have a higher risk of suffering from cardiovascular and respiratory diseases. The bad oral bacteria that cause periodontitis can make their way to the heart and lungs. These harmful pathogens land up in the blood vessels and arteries where they trigger clots and impede blood flow. Heart attacks, strokes and inflammatory conditions like pneumonia and bronchitis have all been linked to bad bacteria originating in the mouth.

It is not just the physical body that can be adversely affected by bad oral bacteria. People with dental diseases may also be at risk of mental illnesses such as Alzheimer’s and dementia. Neglecting oral health is a sure way of ruining your smile.

The loss of a beautiful smile can take a toll on mental health. There is a corresponding drop in confidence levels which affects one’s social and professional life. People who lack confidence usually do not form positive impressions with others. A good-looking smile is a non-negotiable factor in success, be it success in business, at work or in social circles.

It is clear then that good dental health has an important role to play in overall health and wellbeing. It is to be hoped that routine dental check-ups become more of a priority for adults considering their all-pervading influence on the body.