Most of us know we need to brush and floss, but we get in a rush. So, why is brushing our teeth so important. We all know that brushing our teeth can prevent tooth decay. What about other diseases?
Having good oral health can help prevent or lessen the chance of these diseases or problems:
- Cardiovascular Disease – Gum disease (periodontitis) from oral bacteria may be a link to heart disease, clogged arteries and stroke according to some research.
- Endocarditis – Gum disease may cause this infection to the inner lining of the heart
- Premature birth and low birth weight has been linked to gum disease.
- Alzheimer’s disease – Losing teeth before age 35 puts you at risk.
- Osteoporosis may be associated with tooth loss and periodontal bone loss.
- Having Diabetes increases your risk of gum disease.
So, we all need to work into our schedules brushing our teeth at least twice a day. Try to make one of those times be before you go to bed. Use good technique taking time to do a thorough job. (See tips below.) You can use an electric/battery or manual toothbrush, whatever works best for you. Foods that are acidic or contain sugar or starch can produce acids in your mouth that can harm tooth enamel for 20 minutes or more. After consuming these foods avoid brushing your teeth for at least 30 minutes.
Floss your teeth at least once a day, as flossing helps decrease your risk of having gum disease and tooth decay. Use whatever kind of floss or flossing tool works best for you.
Did you know your toothbrush could make you sick? Here are a few tips to help you prevent that:
- Wash your hands. Be sure to wash your hands before and after to avoid spreading germs into your mouth and to others after brushing.
- Use a new toothbrush very four months. Toothbrushes can wear out. Replace your toothbrush after an illness..
- After brushing rinse your toothbrush with water and store upright allowing it to air-dry. Don’t cover it until completely dry. Store your toothbrush so that it doesn’t touch other toothbrushes. Airborne bacteria grow well in the warm, moist environment like a bathroom.
- Don’t share your toothbrush with others. .
- It is not necessary to sanitize your toothbrush using a mouthwash, sanitizer, dishwasher or microwave oven.
- When someone is sick have them use a different tube of toothpaste, such as a travel size. Sharing tubes of toothpaste can result in cross-contamination of germs.
Author: Pat Brinkman, Extension Educator Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Miami Valley EERA
Reviewed by: Liz Smith, M.S., R.D., L.D. NE Regional Program Specialist, SNAP-ED, Ohio State University Extension.
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