Practicing good oral hygiene is about more than just having a nice smile and getting rid of bad breath. Science indicates a healthy mouth is a key to a healthy body. Yet the majority of Americans overlook their teeth and gums. Three in ten millennials only brush their teeth once a day (instead of the recommended twice-a-day routine), and nearly a third of Americans never floss. While the dentist’s office might seem like a scary place, frequent teeth cleanings and check-ups at NuLife Dental are a must if you care about your health. Here’s why you should consider making oral care a priority. 

Higher Life Expectancy

Research suggests that if an individual still has all their teeth at age 74, they have a higher chance of making it to 100 years old. Yet those who have lost five teeth by 65 could be at a greater risk for premature death. The Oral Health Foundation said this is because poor health will often first materialize in the mouth. So if you want a long and healthy life, consider brushing your pearly whites regularly. 

Overall Health 

A clean mouth is crucial for improving your overall health. Your mouth is the entry point to your digestive and respiratory tracts, so any bacteria that enters your mouth can easily maneuver its way into your body’s other systems as well. A host of medical conditions are linked to your oral health including dementia, rheumatoid arthritis, heart disease and other heart problems, respiratory disease, osteoporosis, and pneumonia. Gum disease, in particular, contributes to greater inflammation in the rest of your body, specifically your heart. In fact, scientists have discovered that people with gum disease are twice as likely to have a heart attack and three times as likely to have a stroke

Systemic diseases—illnesses which affect your whole body, not just one part—can impact your oral health and exhibit symptoms in your mouth first. Systemic diseases like HIV/AIDS and diabetes might first show up as mouth lesions. 

The accumulation of plaque can also lead to medical problems beyond your teeth and gums. When plaque builds up along the gumline, it leads to gingivitis, a kind of gum infection. Gum infections can make diabetes more difficult to manage, lead to cardiovascular disease, and increase birth complications like preterm birth or low birth weight. 

Reducing Tooth Loss

If you want to keep your teeth for life, taking good care of them is (obviously) a crucial step. By having a good oral care regimen, you are helping prevent tooth decay and gum disease—which both cause tooth loss. The best way to keep your teeth clean is by brushing twice daily with fluoride toothpaste, flossing every day, limiting sugar in our diets, and seeing your dentist at least once per year (and more if you are experiencing any dental problems). Additionally, you should use mouthwash to remove any lingering food, avoid smoking, and replace your toothbrush every few months. 

While keeping our teeth and gums healthy might seem like a no-brainer, many adults struggle with regularly seeing their dental professional due to cost. A 2017 poll found that 40 percent of middle-aged Americans don’t get regular dental cleanings or check-ups for financial reasons. And nearly 30 percent don’t have dental insurances while more than half only go to the dentist if a serious problem occurs. Taking proper care of your teeth requires going to the dentist, so if the price is a deterrent, consider searching healthquotegurus to help you compare insurance quotes and make the best decision for your budget. Consulting with a healthcare lawyer about insurance plans and providers is also recommended to help you access affordable dental care. 

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