More than anything else, your smile is one of the first things people notice about you, and one of the things they will remember about you the most. It doesn’t stop there, though! Studies have shown that having a bright, healthy smile can make you seem more approachable and trustworthy to others. It can even make you appear more successful than someone with a frown! Keeping your teeth and gums in good shape is clearly an important part of putting your best foot forward in public, but did you know that oral hygiene can have an impact on your overall health as well?
It’s true – treat your teeth right and it can help the rest of your body feel good, too. Fortunately, there is no age limit on adopting an excellent dental hygiene routine! Even if you’ve been less than vigilant about oral care recently, it’s never too late to take steps towards healthy teeth and a happy smile. If you want to know more about the connection between your teeth and total body health, and how Scott Edwards Cosmetic and Family Dentistry can help you get the most out of your smile, keep reading below!
Taking it beyond a bright, healthy smile
People tend to think braces are only for straightening the teeth in order to produce a perfect smile. While they certainly accomplish this, there are many other benefits to having properly aligned teeth and jaws. That’s because orthodontic appliances like braces or clear aligners are functional in nature, offering both aesthetic and health benefits that can last a lifetime. However, if oral issues are left untreated, there is a potential for health problems that can interrupt proper chewing, swallowing, nutrition, and speech. Misaligned teeth and jaws may also increase the risk for tooth decay, TMJ pain, and chronic headaches. Our practice is proud to offer Invisalign clear aligner therapy! This innovative alternative to braces can correct many of these issues, giving you a straighter smile and a fully functioning mouth.
Improve the digestive process
While it may seem strange to think of teeth and digestion as a team, chewing our food is the very first part of the digestive process. It’s also a crucial element that many of us neglect when we scarf our food without chewing it properly! Taking the time to chew thoroughly is an important oral habit to cultivate because this is how our bodies convert large pieces of food into smaller particles that are easier to digest. It’s this process that gives our intestines the chance to absorb nutrients properly, so when food isn’t chewed well before swallowing, it won’t digest as well in your stomach. This results in your body using up extra energy in order to absorb all the nutrients.
Keeping tooth decay away
Dentists talk a lot about plaque, but you might not know what exactly it is, or why we want to help you avoid it. Plaque is a sticky film containing bacteria, and when it builds up on the teeth, it can eat away at the enamel and form cavities. Cavities that form in between the teeth are harder to see and treat since they often go unnoticed until there are symptoms you can’t ignore. This can cause inflammation, and gums that come puffy, sensitive and red. They may even bleed while you’re brushing. A buildup of plaque can really wreak havoc on the health of your gums, leading to gingivitis or full-blown gum disease if left untreated over a long enough period of time.
When it comes to dental health, one of the very best things you can do is schedule a check-up with one of our dentists every six months. Drs. Edwards, Prince, and Groshart are trained, knowledgeable professionals who will provide not only a thorough examination, but also keep an eye out for things you wouldn’t typically be able to see, such as cavities or the beginning stages of gum disease. If there’s anything concerning, they’ll be able to advise you on any preventive or corrective treatment that may be necessary.
Help maintain cognitive function
The first stage of gum disease is gingivitis, with periodontitis the more advanced form. Both can produce inflammation, slight bleeding, and tenderness in the gums, and some studies have linked gum disease and cognitive function. Adults with gingivitis performed worse on memory and cognitive skills tests than those with healthier mouths. Periodontitis was also associated with cognitive impairment in older adults. Maintaining a good dental hygiene routine and planning regular dental visits will go a long way towards reducing your risks for developing gum disease and any of the issues that come with it.
Reduce infection and inflammation
There’s also been research into a possible association between gum disease and rheumatoid arthritis, which is an autoimmune disease causing inflammation of the joints. Experts have suggested that the mechanism that destroys connective tissue in RA is similar to the mechanism in gum disease that causes the gums to pull away from the teeth. In addition to caring for your gums and teeth, a well-balanced diet is also beneficial in reducing your risk of developing tooth decay and gum disease by keeping inflammation and infection to a minimum in your mouth.
It’s a no-brainer that most of us should be avoiding excess sugar and starches, but there are also foods you can eat that can actively improve the health of your gums. Crunchy vegetables and fruit trigger saliva production, which helps to protect your teeth and gums by rebalancing the pH in the mouth. Fibrous fruits and vegetables, like celery and apples, massage the gums as you chew, increasing the blood flow and improving the body’s natural defenses to protect the gums via the immune system.
Boost your dental and total body health with Scott Edwards Cosmetic and Family Dentistry
When your smile is what most people remember about you, you don’t want them to think of unattractive teeth or bad breath when they think of you! Tooth decay and gum disease can cause both these things – and more. This can affect your self-esteem, and your confidence can take a hit. When your mouth is healthy, and free from gingivitis and cavities, it can contribute to a better quality of life, from liking what you see when you look in the mirror to eating, sleeping, and concentrating better, too.
Here at Scott Edwards Cosmetic and Family Dentistry, we offer everything from general dentistry and teeth whitening to Invisalign and cosmetic dentistry. We’ve designed our office and assembled a team that welcomes you warmly and treats you like family from your first appointment with us! We work hard to provide every patient we see with the best and most comfortable dental care possible in Memphis and the Mid-South. Dr. Edwards, Dr. Prince, and Dr. Groshart have over 40 years of combined experience, and are able to offer you the highest caliber of dental care. We would love to help you achieve a smile that’s attractive, healthy, and fully functional, so get in touch today to take the first step towards improved dental and total body health!