During October, grocery stores line their aisles with candy corn, apple cider, bags of fun-sized chocolate bars, and Halloween cookies and cupcakes. Because these sugary treats we love are so prominent during this time, it’s only appropriate that October is National Dental Hygiene Month.
Why you should care
Sometimes we don’t place as much importance on our oral health in the same way we do our bones or heart health. But what’s going on inside your mouth can directly affect your overall health, and vice versa.
Cavities occur when either or both the outer coating of a tooth (enamel) and the inner layer (dentin) decay. Bacteria in the mouth turns the leftover food stuck on teeth into acid, which then forms plaque. The acids in plaque dissolve the tooth’s enamel, creating small holes. Cavities can cause toothaches, sensitivity, pain, visible holes, or tooth stains. If a serious cavity goes untreated, it can cause weight loss, severe infections, permanent tooth loss, and pain that interferes with daily life.
Our gums can be very telling about the state of our health. For example, sore and pale gums are signs of anemia, receding gums can be due to sleep apnea, and dry gums may be a symptom of immune system problems. Shockingly, almost half of adults 30 years and older have some type of gum disease. Gum disease creeps up slowly over time if oral health is neglected, and is shown through symptoms like redness, swollenness, tenderness, and bleeding. Some studies show that people with gum disease are more likely to have heart disease than those with healthy gums. It’s also worth noting that high blood sugar levels significantly increase a diabetic’s risk of getting gum disease.
3. Dry Mouth
Over 4 million Americans have a condition that causes chronically dry eyes and mouth called Sjögren’s syndrome. If you suffer from constant dry mouth and tongue, ask your doctor about possible treatment options. Saliva protects your teeth and gums from bacteria, so people who don’t produce much of it are more susceptible to gum disease and tooth decay.
When people are stressed, anxious, or depressed, they may be at a higher risk for oral health problems. Under pressure, your body produces high levels of cortisol, which is unhealthy for your gums. When we feel tense, our jaw may lock up and cause our teeth to grind and wear against one another. On top of that, studies show 50 percent of people don’t floss or brush regularly when they get in these states. Other stress-related habits that negatively affect your mouth include smoking, overeating sugary or fatty foods, and drinking alcohol.
5. Mental Health
Taking care of your dental hygiene doesn’t only benefit your physical health, but also your mental health. Whether you’re talking to someone, eating, or smiling for a picture, our mouths attract a lot of attention. If you’re always self-conscious about your teeth, breath, and gums, it’s going to affect your mental health eventually. Taking care of your mouth will make you feel good about your appearance and boost your confidence.
Join Albuquerque ER & Hospital in avoiding these issues by pledging to brush your teeth twice a day, rinse with mouthwash after, floss daily, and visit the dentist twice a year.
Teach Them Young
If you’re a parent, you know that sometimes it’s like pulling teeth—no pun intended—to get your child ready for bed. However hard it may be, instilling the importance of dental hygiene at a young age will help them establish a lasting routine. With dental issues being one of the most common health problems among adults, it’s imperative we teach children how to care for their oral health properly.
Help improve your child’s dental hygiene:
- Demonstrate the proper way to brush and floss with your children.
- Purchase a fun new toothbrush to encourage use – i.e., their favorite color, a character-themed toothbrush, or one that plays music.
- Create a bathroom “Brush, Floss, Rinse” chart and offer a reward at the end of the week for accomplishing each task every day.
- Schedule a dentist appointment if it’s been a while since you or your children last visited.
- Try to limit their sugar intake by keeping Halloween candy out of reach and setting a fixed number of pieces they’re allowed to have per day.
For dental or oral emergencies such as a busted lip, knocked out teeth, sliced gums, etc., Albuquerque ER & Hospital is here to help. We are ready to assist you with any type of medical emergency, 24/7, 365 days a year. Our highly trained staff is dedicated to giving our patients the most effective and efficient treatment in a comfortable environment.
Disclaimer: As a service to our readers, Albuquerque ER & Hospital and Nutex Health state no content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinicians.
Nutex Health, Inc supports you and your family’s health. You can depend on Albuquerque ER & Hospital, or any of our concierge-level, medical facilities to deliver the emergency care you deserve, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.