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How to Maintain a Healthy Mouth

Updated on January 20, 2013
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Open wide and say, "Ahhhh." Is everything looking good in there?

Good oral hygiene is important. Not just because shiny white teeth look good, but an unclean mouth can lead to all kind of health complications.

Oral health isn't just about clean teeth. It's about taking care of your whole mouth, including your gums and jaw. A healthy mouth can also affect the health of your whole body. Poor oral health can increase the risk of cardiovascular disease, stroke and other systemic infections.

Oral Health Problems

  • Cavities. Tooth decay can be caused by bad eating habits and poor dental care. A trip to the dentist is necessary. You might need a filling.
  • Stained Teeth. Yellow teeth can be caused by tea, coffee or smoking. Cut out the cigarettes in the first place. You know you don't want to be using those. Over-the-counter whitening agents are available, but use them after the stain is first removed by your dentist.
  • Canker Sores. These are small ulcers inside the mouth. They are more common in women than men and may be related to hormonal changes. They usually heal on their own within a couple of weeks. Topical anesthetics and antimicrobial mouthwashes can be bought over the counter if the pain is too much. Avoid spicy and salty foods.
  • Halitosis. Bad breath is not nice. It's usually food, bacteria and poor oral hygiene which cause it. Cut it out with a professional dental clean and a change to your diet. Follow it up with regular brushing and flossing. Plenty of saliva in your mouth can help, try some sugarless gum to get you chewing.
  • Clicking Jaw. Your jaw moves a lot. Between 2000-3000 times a day. Sometimes all this wear and tear can take its toll. Symptoms can include clicking, facial pain, headaches, neck and back pain, and bite problems.If you are suffering, get it checked out by a dentist. Mouth guards can help relieve symptoms. Avoid chewing gum, don't eat foods that require opening your mouth wide, cut down on caffeine. Aspirin or Ibuprofen can reduce the pain.
  • Receding Gums. This is common in older people. It happens when the gums move away from the teeth, exposing the roots. It is sometimes caused by brushing too hard. The best way to avoid is to use a soft bristle toothbrush and visit the dentist regularly.

What Other Problems Can Poor Oral Hygiene Cause?

It's not just bad breath, ugly teeth and pains in the mouth that can be caused by poor oral hygiene. Problems in the mouth can also lead to problems elsewhere in the body.

  • Research shows that heart disease, clogged arteries and stroke may be linked to oral bacteria, possibly because of chronic inflammation from severe gum disease.
  • Gum disease may allow bacteria to enter your bloodstream, causing infection.
  • Gum disease can also be a problem for pregnant women. It has been linked to premature birth and low birth weight.

How to Maintain A Healthy Mouth

So, to maintain good oral health, there are a few things you must do:

  • Brush your teeth at least twice a day.
  • Replace your toothbrush every three to four months.
  • Floss every day.
  • Eat a healthy diet and avoid unhealthy snacks.
  • Have regular check-ups with a dentist.
  • Keep an eye out for any symptoms of oral disease. If you notice something, go see a dentist right way. Don't forget, your oral health is important.

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    • tillsontitan profile image

      Mary Craig 4 years ago from New York

      I think the area most people are the most slack in is replacing their toothbrush. We always figure we can use it a little longer. Thanks for the reminder to go buy a new toothbrush!

      Voted up, useful, and interesting.