Good dental care will help keep your smile looking great for longer, but the benefits go way further than helping you look lovely.

Taking care of your teeth and gums can affect your health throughout your body – in a wide variety of surprising ways.

There are plenty of reasons to look after your teeth with regular brushing, flossing and visits to the dentist. However, dental health affects overall health, from heart health and certain diseases, to possibly even Alzehimer’s disease.

Keep your heart healthy

The potential of a link between heart disease and gum disease has been well documented over recent years. One of the possible reasons for this is that bad bacteria gets into your bloodstream via inflamed gums and is carried to the heart. This could also be due to an immune response that’s triggered by the gum inflammation which then spreads to attack other parts of the body. Although the verdict is still not 100% clear the reason, good dental hygiene is your best defense.

Stay sharp

A recent Taiwanese study has found a link between gum disease and Alzheimer’s disease. In this study, people who have had periodontitis for at least ten years were shown to be 70% more likely to go on to develop Alzheimer’s than those without any dental health issues. It’s believed this is due to low-grade inflammation that could then go on to attack the brain.

Have a happy tummy

Good digestion is crucial to your health, and your teeth play a vital role when it comes to breaking down your food, so it’s easily digestible. Damaged, painful or missing teeth can impact the way you chew your food, which in turn puts more strain on your digestive system – and can affect your overall health. Keeping your teeth healthy will help keep your tummy happy and maintain good overall health.

Bad breath

While not going to die from bad breath, it can be a killer for your social life. Smelly breath often comes from the buildup of bacteria in your mouth due to poor oral hygiene or lack of saliva. Good dental hygiene, particularly brushing and using mouthwash – along with regular visits to the dental hygienist – can help keep your breath smelling fresh.

If your teeth are healthy now, that’s still no reason to skip your regular dentist visits. The importance of oral health can’t be understated. Because it’s not just about keeping your teeth in good shape; it’s about protecting your overall health and wellbeing.

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If you have health insurance, it may not even cost you a thing!

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