Steps to a Healthy Mouth and a Healthy You

Most people know the routine hygienists recommend for keeping your teeth and gums healthy: “Brush and floss!” But what many people may not know is that the health of your teeth and gums is very much related to how healthy the rest of your body is, and it goes the other way too; your body can become unhealthy as a result of serious gum inflammation or tooth decay. There is evidence for success behind our traditional mantra of “brush and floss”, but how can you really optimize your routine to ensure your whole body, mouth included, stays healthy? Here are some straightforward tips from your friendly hygienists at West Hills Dental:

Keep gum inflammation at bay
Every time you are in the dental office ask if you have any inflammation below the gumline. You can have it and not even know it. If you do, take whatever steps are necessary to eliminate the inflammation and then to keep it at bay.

Know your BMI
Your body mass index (BMI) can tell you if you are clinically overweight. If you are overweight, you are at increased risk for gum disease and other serious diseases like heart disease and diabetes.

Sleep well
Seven to eight hours of high-­quality sleep seems to be the ideal amount. If you are told that you are or notice that you snore, wake frequently, feel tired in the morning, or clench/grind your teeth, get screened for sleep apnea; these symptoms can indicate that your airway is obstructed at night. If you test positive for sleep apnea, get treatment for it! Sleep apnea is a very serious condition that can lead to early death.

Exercise regularly
Current recommendations are thirty minutes of moderate exercise five days per week. If you are pressed for time, you can get similar results in shorter time using high intensity interval training. Exercise regularly, moderately, and with variety in your routine. Regular exercise improves salivary function, and general health by cleaning up the immune system.

Check your blood sugar regularly
Gum disease can be the first sign of diabetes. Detecting diabetes early lessens the chance of developing the serious consequences that can result from untreated diabetes. Everyone over 45 should have an HbA1c ​ test at least every three years – more frequently if you have gum disease or other risk factors for diabetes.

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