Growing up, our parents always told us to brush our teeth. It felt like punishment! These days, it’s still easy to forget. Brushing and flossing after a long day might feel inconvenient.
Oral hygiene is crucial, though. Here are nine reasons why you should take care of your mouth.
Prevents Dental Diseases
From kids to adults, anyone can get cavities. They develop when you don’t brush and floss enough, especially after eating. The bacteria in your mouth interacts with food and saliva to form plaque. Over time, the acids in plaque cause tooth decay, and you’ve got yourself a cavity.
Tooth decay is so common that only the common cold is more prevalent.1 This is exactly why oral health is so important.
2. Gum Disease
The bacteria and plaque can irritate the surrounding gums. This can lead to gum inflammation known as gingivitis. Symptoms are painful, ranging from swelling to bleeding.
Daily brushing and flossing can heal it right up. Otherwise, it can turn into periodontitis or inflammation around the tooth. The gum swells up so much that space forms in between the tooth and gums – and it becomes infected.
Eventually, the bone and tissue supporting the teeth break down. Serious damage may call for complete tooth removal.2
3. Mouth Sores
Avoiding mouth sores is one of the top benefits of oral health. These include bumps like canker sores and cold sores.
Granted, they are typically caused by things like stress and poor immunity. In the case of cold sores, herpes is the culprit.3
Yet, oral care is important for preventing flare-ups and infections. Failing to take care of your mouth will make a great environment for these sores to make a comeback.4
4. Salivary Gland Infection
Without good oral hygiene, your salivary glands can develop a bacterial infection. Infected glands will cause redness, swelling, pain, dry mouth, and abnormal tastes. If fever or pus develops, you’ll need antibiotics.
Regularly brushing and flossing can prevent all of this. Even if you get a minor infection, your good oral habits will speed up healing.5
5. Oral Cancer
Good oral care is important because it can ward off cancer. And while a toothbrush can’t prevent it, quitting smoking can.
Cigarettes have more than 60 cancer-causing substances. Smoking will give your mouth and throat instant exposure, and drastically increase your cancer risk. It’s no surprise that 80 percent of people with oral cancer also smoke cigarettes.6
By ditching the cigarettes, you’ll keep your oral health in good shape. The risk for oral cancer – and the other disorders on this list – will also decrease.
Improves Daily Life
All of these ailments will make it painful to eat. You might also have a hard time swallowing. If this happens, you won’t get enough nutrients to stay healthy.
Poor oral hygiene may also lead to a taste disorder. Sadly, food won’t be as enjoyable as it used to be.7
The pain will also make it difficult to talk. After all, every part of your mouth is needed to say words. This can be incredibly frustrating, especially if you have to speak at work or school.
3. Facial Expressions
In the same vein, your facial movements will suffer. It might feel uncomfortable to smile, laugh, or frown. Showing feeling and emotions won’t come naturally, which can hamper communication.
Bad breath is super embarrassing. It’s another reason why oral hygiene is important! Regularly brushing and flossing is the best way to stop bacteria build-up, a major cause of odor.8
The American Academy of Family Physicians recommends visiting the dentist every six months. Depending on your oral health, you might have to visit more often. At home, brush your teeth twice a day and floss at least once.9
|↑1||Dental Cavities. MedlinePlus.|
|↑2||Periodontal (Gum) Disease: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatments. National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research.|
|↑3||Cold Sores. MedlinePlus.|
|↑4||Mouth Sores. American Academy of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery.|
|↑5||Salivary Gland Infections. MedlinePlus.|
|↑6||Cancer and Tobacco. Johns Hopkins Medicine.|
|↑7||Taste Disorders. National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders.|
|↑8||Bad Breath. MedlinePlus.|
|↑9||Mouth and Teeth: How to Keep Them Healthy. American Academy of Family Physicians.|