The Importance of Oral Hygiene

What is Dental Hygiene?

The term “dental hygiene,” or “oral hygiene,” refers to the practices that preserve your gums, natural teeth, and their surrounding structures. Patients with good oral or dental hygiene brush their teeth with a soft-bristled toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste at least twice a day, floss regularly, and use mouthwash to remove any remaining food particles. Proper oral hygiene also includes visiting the dentist every six months for professional cleanings. Maintaining dental hygiene prevents oral diseases, such as periodontitis (gum disease), and preserves your overall health.

At Baxter Dental Group, we specialize in a variety of treatments and procedures aimed to ensure proper oral hygiene. No matter your age or dental history, it’s our goal for you to achieve the smile of your dreams. Our team will not only provide you with the best in dental care, but we’ll also continuously educate you and your family on lifelong oral hygiene practices. A commitment to dental health is a commitment to your overall health.

Oral Health Affects Overall Health

Those with poor oral hygiene oftentimes experience a variety of health problems elsewhere in their body. Like other areas of the body, your mouth is filled with relatively harmless bacteria. However, the mouth acts as an entry point to your respiratory and digestive systems, where that bacteria can cause disease. In normal cases, good oral hygiene practices such as brushing and flossing keep the bacteria at bay; but, for those who don’t have a solid, effective dental regimen, the germs can lead to various diseases.

An infection that begins in your mouth can eventually spread to other areas of the body, especially if left untreated. For instance, an infection of your heart’s inner lining, called endocarditis, can occur when oral bacteria leaks into your bloodstream and attaches to the valves and endocardium. Other diseases, such as pneumonia, can arise when bacteria travel from your mouth into your lungs.

Osteoporosis, a bone weakening disease, can also result from poor oral hygiene. Those that fail to brush, floss, and rinse with mouthwash risk not only weakening teeth, but also bone loss in general. The jawbones upholding your gums and oral structures can be significantly damaged, thus leading to tooth loss and extractions.

Tooth Extraction and Dentures

Tooth loss is the most common dental problem for children and adults alike. Often, the loss is due to poor oral hygiene practices. The plaque buildup from inconsistent dental hygiene can cause severe tooth decay and gum disease, leading to either natural loss or extraction. If you experience any of the following symptoms, it’s critical that you visit the dentist as soon as possible for treatment:

  • Bleeding gums
  • Pain
  • Tenderness
  • Swelling
  • Blisters and ulcers that don’t heal
  • Noticeable changes in color or texture of gums

The sooner you schedule an appointment, the better your chances of preserving the tooth. However, if the damage is too severe, the dentist will remove it. In many cases, multiple teeth are damaged, meaning that dentures may be the next course of action. Our dentists will advise you and provide treatment tailored to your needs.

How to Maintain Good Oral Hygiene

Since oral hygiene is imperative to an individual’s health and well-being, it must be taken seriously. As the primary goal of dental care is to prevent plaque buildup that can cause tooth decay or gum infection, any untreated oral diseases can lead to preventable adverse health effects.

In addition to brushing, flossing, and using mouthwash, there are numerous ways to uphold proper oral hygiene, such as:

  • Eating a healthy diet that limits sugary foods and drinks
  • Avoiding tobacco
  • Replacing your toothbrush regularly
  • Rinsing your mouth with water after meals
  • Protecting your teeth with a mouthguard when playing contact sports
  • Scheduling dental appointments every six months

Although every oral hygiene practice is important, the most crucial is to maintain regular dental appointments. Since dentists are professionals, they’re able to detect early signs of decay and disease. They will examine and evaluate your current oral health and create a treatment plan personalized to you.

Additionally, when you visit the dentist for regular cleanings, they ensure the hard-to-reach teeth and gum lines are free from plaque. Therefore, it’s simply impossible to achieve a healthy smile by your lonesome. The best way to reach the smile of your dreams is with the help of a dentist.

Schedule an Appointment with Our Ballwin Dentist Today

Our Ballwin dentist team takes pride in the services we offer. We’re dedicated to patient comfort and satisfaction, using the highest quality dental equipment and procedures. We treat every member of the family, from children to seniors, for their specific conditions, providing personalized care, cleanings, and x-rays. Overall, we educate patients on how to prevent oral health issues that can cause further damage elsewhere in the body. To take charge of your dental and overall health, schedule an appointment today!