Your mouth is full of bacteria. Some of it’s good and some of it’s bad. If you want a fresh, clean mouth that positively impacts your overall health and well-being, you need a plan to eliminate the harmful bacteria while giving the good bacteria room to thrive.
Why a clean mouth matters
Mayo Clinic calls oral health the window to your overall health because of the connection that exists between oral health and overall health. Like most areas of the body, your mouth is teeming with bacteria. Most of this bacteria is totally harmless (and even helpful), though some can cause disease.
“Normally the body’s natural defenses and good oral health care, such as daily brushing and flossing, keep bacteria under control,” Mayo Clinic mentions. “However, without proper oral hygiene, bacteria can reach levels that might lead to oral infections, such as tooth decay and gum disease.”
A long list of conditions are linked to oral health, including endocarditis, cardiovascular disease, pregnancy and birth complications, and pneumonia. On the flip side, other conditions can impact your oral health, such as diabetes, HIV/AIDS, Alzheimer’s disease, and osteoporosis.
Oral health goes both ways. Take care of your mouth and it’ll take care of your body. Take care of your body and it’ll lower your chances of having oral health issues. At the end of the day, a clean mouth must be a priority.
5 tips for a clean, fresh mouth
Having a clean mouth is about more than just fresh breath (though that’s certainly a benefit). Here are several tips to help you take oral hygiene seriously:
1. Brush properly
Regular brushing is essential to a clean mouth. We recommend brushing at least twice daily – though you should really get in the habit of brushing after every meal. If you work out of an office away from home, it’s a good idea to keep a toothbrush and toothpaste in a desk drawer. This ensures you don’t go 10 or 12 hours between brushing.
When brushing, spend at least two to three minutes gently scrubbing your teeth in tiny circular motions. It’s also a good practice to brush your gums and tongue.
2. Floss daily
Most people brush daily, but you also need to floss daily. Flossing gets into all of those little spaces and nooks that your toothbrush can’t reach and gently lifts away bacteria that causes tooth decay, bad breath, and other issues like gingivitis. For best results, make flossing part of your normal brushing routine.
Not fond of flossing? Or feel like you need something more powerful? A Waterpik is a good option. These high-powered machines spray water in between your gums and remove unwanted food, plaque, and bacteria.
3. Use a tongue scraper
Did you know that you should also be scraping your tongue on a daily basis?
As Healthline points out, “Debris, bacteria, and dead cells can build up on your tongue over time. This can lead to bad breath and have a negative impact on your overall oral health. Using a tongue scraper can help remove this buildup.”
Tongue scraping leads to a better sense of taste, improved appearance of your tongue, fresher breath, and improved oral health (including lower risk of gum disease, cavities, and other issues).
The best tools for scraping your tongue are dedicated tongue scrapers (which cost less than a toothbrush). However, if you don’t have one, you can also use a spoon or clean toothbrush.
4. Consider dental implants
Part of maintaining good dental hygiene is taking care of your teeth and gums. If you’re missing teeth, this leaves you even more susceptible to oral health issues. To combat this, we recommend speaking with a dentist about dental implants. Not only will this improve your health, but it’ll also give you a fuller and more attractive smile.
5. Improve your diet
The foods and drinks you consume have a direct impact on your oral health. Wine, coffee, and sugary foods can stain and destroy the enamel of your teeth, while other foods like crunchy vegetables, water, and calcium-rich foods can strengthen your teeth and overall oral health. Make sure you take your diet seriously and prioritize the connection between nutrition and oral health.
Putting it all together
If you want to be at your healthiest, you can’t forget about your oral health and hygiene. Your oral health is the window to your overall health – so take it seriously and don’t forget about the daily practices and disciplines mentioned in this article. Attention to detail will serve you well.
Story by Darren Wilson