Most times, when people think about areas to focus on in the new year, the main theme is change. They want to do things in the upcoming year that easily reflect improvements in their quality of life. So a goal like purchasing a new home or car, or taking their dream vacation, if accomplished, makes an outward statement of success. But your dentist in Topeka would like to introduce a far simpler, yet very important alternative to the common mindset of new year’s goal setting. His suggestion is that you make your health a top priority, based on the premise that you have the power to enjoy optimum wellness if you take a proactive approach. And one of the ways that he offers to accomplish this is through preventive dentistry. Learn more about how your oral health impacts your overall wellness and why semi-annual visits to your dentist are crucial for your happy new year.
Why Oral Health Matters
Your oral health is so important because it has far reaching effects. A simple place to start in understanding the importance of your oral health is with your anatomy. Your mouth is the interface between the outside world and the rest of your body. It accepts and processes the foods and beverages that you need to sustain your existence; it helps you form the words that you speak to the world with, and it serves as a transporter of vital oxygen.
Your mouth is very important. And all the functions mentioned above are dependent on your ability to achieve excellent oral health.
How Your Oral Health Affects Your Overall Wellness
Here are some examples of how your oral health factor into your overall wellness:
- Food Consumption – Your ability to properly chew and digest what you eat has a lot to do with your overall health, in that you need strong teeth to tear and grind up your food, but those teeth are dependent upon your oral hygiene to remain protected against bacteria and plaque that seek to bore cavities into them and cause gingivitis. If your teeth aren’t fully functional, then you miss out on the nutrients that they help extract from your food, that replenish the entire body with energy through the digestive process.
- Impacted Speaking – Another important function of your mouth is to generate the sound that we call speaking, which relies heavily upon your teeth being in their proper places. But, if your oral health is compromised, there’s a chance that they can loosen or fall out in cases of advanced gum disease. This is all avoidable, though, by practicing excellent oral care and maintaining semi-annual appointments with your dentist for cleanings and checkups.
- Oxygen – Not only is your mouth a key to your ability to circulate oxygen when you inhale and exhale, but it also has an affect on the oxygen transport throughout your body. Negligent oral care that leads to plaque buildup on your teeth and gums, also contributes to the buildup of plaque in your arteries, where oxygen carrying blood has to pass through. The plaque-filled arteries restrict the flow of oxygen and then leave you more susceptible to heart disease, stroke and high blood pressure.
Oral Care Practices for the New Year
The care of your mouth, teeth and gums come down to some very simple practices:
- Brushing and Flossing – In the new year, make it a priority to brush and floss your teeth at least twice daily to remove the bacteria and plaque that can lead to a host of problems.
- Eat Healthier – Eating healthier has positive effects on your whole body, including your mouth. It helps to create more alkaline saliva that aids in food digestion and bathes your mouth and teeth, which aids in fighting harmful bacteria.
- Visit Your Dentist – One of the greatest assets you have is your dentist. Along with your willingness to practice excellent oral hygiene, he will help to ensure that your overall health is greatly enhanced. Semi-annual visits provide you with a thorough cleaning and examination, and allow your dentist to identify any problems before they become major issues. These are also great times for you to ask any questions that you may have.
So now you have some information to help you in forming some practical goals for the new year – goals that will enhance your overall quality of life and allow you to enjoy it to the fullest.
About the Author
A graduate of the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Dentistry, where he earned his Doctor of Dental Surgery degree, Dr. Michael E. Michel is a member of the American Dental Association and the Kansas Dental Association. He practices at Michel Dental and can be reached for more information through his website.