Easy ways to keep your mouth clean and fresh can keep bigger health problems at bay

Healthy teeth and gums might play more of a role in your overall health than you think. The average mouth is teeming with roughly 100-200 bacteria species. While not all that bacteria is harmful, if allowed to stay longer than a short visit, it could create problems throughout the body. 

“Our goal for oral health is to reduce the amount of harmful bacteria that are in our mouth on a daily basis,” says Dr. Huy Lam, doctor of dental surgery and owner of HDentaL. 

Citing the Mayo Health Clinic, Dr. Lam says oral health might contribute to diseases such as cardiovascular disease or pneumonia. Some research suggests heart disease, clogged arteries and stroke may be linked to inflammation or infections caused by mouth bacteria. Additionally, pneumonia might be caused by certain mouth bacteria being pulled into the lungs. 

To prevent these concerns, Dr. Lam suggests practicing good oral health. He recommends tooth brushing twice a day for two minutes, daily flossing and swishing mouthwash to keep bacteria colonies from sticking to teeth and calcifying into tartar.

An electric toothbrush with a timer helps ensure teeth are thoroughly cleaned, while flossing each pearly white three times per side, can help reach the 35 percent of the tooth located between teeth. Mouthwash is then used to clean the hardest to reach spots. Lastly, dental cleanings and checkups should be every six months. 

“The more often we see you,” Dr. Lam says. “Allows us to better take care of you before small things become bigger issues.”

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PULL QUOTE

“The more often we see you, allows us to better take care of you before small things become bigger issues.”