When people meet you, your smile is one of the first things they notice, and one of the things they will remember the most. Studies have shown that having a bright, healthy smile can make you seem more approachable and trustworthy to others, and can even make you appear more successful than someone with a frown! Taking good care of your teeth and gums is clearly an important part of putting your best foot forward in public, but did you know that good oral hygiene can actually have a positive impact on your overall health as well?
From reducing inflammation to helping your mind stay sharp, the way you treat your teeth can keep the rest of your body feeling good, too. Fortunately, there is no age limit on adopting an excellent oral hygiene routine. Even if you have been slacking, it is never too late to take steps towards healthy teeth and a happy smile. To learn more about the connection that exists between oral health and total body health, and how Christopher Cooley DDS can help you get the most out of your smile, keep reading below!
Going beyond a bright smile
People often think braces are only for straightening the teeth in order to produce a perfect smile, but there are many benefits that properly aligned teeth and jaws offer beyond the cosmetic appeal. Orthodontic appliances like braces or clear aligners are functional in nature, offering both aesthetic and health benefits that can last a lifetime when the teeth and gums are properly cared for. 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 can also increase the risk for tooth decay, TMJ pain, and chronic headaches. Dr. Cooley is proud to offer Invisalign clear aligner therapy, an innovative alternative to braces that can correct these issues and give you a straighter smile and fully functioning mouth.
It might seem strange to think of teeth and digestion together, but chewing our food is actually the very first part of the digestive process, and a crucial element many of us neglect when we scarf food down without chewing it properly! Chewing 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. This is what gives the intestines the chance to absorb nutrients properly. When food is not chewed well before swallowing, it will not digest as well in your stomach, and your body will have to use extra energy in order to absorb all the nutrients.
Keep tooth decay at bay
Plaque is a sticky film containing bacteria, and when it is allowed to build up on teeth, it can eat away at the enamel and form cavities. Cavities that set up shop in between the teeth are harder to see and treat since they are often go undiscovered until there are noticeable symptoms. This can cause inflammation, making the gums sensitive and red, and sometimes cause them to bleed. A buildup of plaque can wreak havoc on the health of your gums, leading to gingivitis and even full-blown gum disease if left untreated over time.
One of the best things you can do for your dental health is to schedule a check-up with a dentist like Dr. Cooley every six months. Aside from providing a thorough professional cleaning, our dentists are trained, knowledgeable professionals who will be on the lookout for things you will not typically be able to see, such as cavities or the beginning stages of gum disease. If they find anything that concerns them, they will be able to advise you on whatever preventive or corrective treatment may be necessary.
Maintain cognitive function
Gingivitis is the initial stage of gum disease, and periodontitis is the more advanced form. Both can produce an inflammation, slight bleeding, and tenderness in the gums. Some studies have shown a link between gum disease and cognitive function. Adults with gingivitis performed worse on memory and cognitive skills tests than those with healthier mouths. Additionally, periodontitis was associated with cognitive impairment in older adults. A good dental hygiene routine and regular dental visits will go a long way towards preventing the kind of buildup of bacteria in your mouth that can cause gum disease.
Reduce infection and inflammation
Research has also found a possible association between gum disease and rheumatoid arthritis, an autoimmune disease that causes inflammation of the joints. Experts suggest that the mechanism that destroys connective tissue in RA is similar to the mechanism of gum disease that causes the gums to pull away from the teeth. In addition to maintaining a good oral hygiene routine, eating a well-balanced diet can help reduce your risk of developing tooth decay and gum disease by keeping inflammation and infection to a minimum in your mouth.
Avoiding things like candy and starches can help keep you cavity-free, but there are also foods you can eat that will 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 their mouth. Fibrous fruits and vegetables, like celery and apples, will 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.
A boost in confidence
Knowing that your smile is what most people will remember about you, you do not want them to associate your name with unattractive teeth or bad breath! Tooth decay and gum disease can cause both these things – and more! This can have a serious effect on your self-esteem and self-image, and the level of confidence you have in yourself (and your appearance) can really take a hit. A healthy mouth that is free from gingivitis and cavities can contribute to a better quality of life, from liking what you see in the mirror to potentially eating, sleeping, and concentrating better, too.
Improving your dental health and total body health with Christopher Cooley DDS
Whether you are looking for a general dentist, a practice that offers cosmetic dentistry, or a dentist who can help straighten your smile with Invisalign treatment, Christopher Cooley DDS is the place to be! Our team offers five-star treatment and impeccable customer service from our Germantown office, and we would love to help you achieve a smile that is not only attractive but healthy and fully functional as well. Get in touch with us today to learn more about how we can change your smile, your dental health, and your total body health!