Looking after your teeth has a real impact on the overall health of your body. Here's what you need to know.
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Looking after your teeth has a real impact on the overall health of your body. Here’s what you need to know.
We may think of our mouth and body health as separate, but the reality is that they are, in fact, connected. And recent research has shown that, for example, not looking after your mouth properly can impact on the rest of your body. Studies have linked gum disease with increased risk of health issues such as heart disease and diabetes.
Exactly how oral health and all-round health are linked hasn’t yet been completely determined, but according to Dr Anousheh Alavi, scientific affairs manager for Colgate, the body’s immune system has to generally work very hard to protect it from harmful bacteria, including those around the mouth. ‘If gum disease is present, our body defences are working even harder, which may make us less able to protect other parts of our body,’ she says. It’s also possible that the inflammation that bacteria cause in the gums triggers the release of inflammatory signals in the body, affecting other parts beyond the mouth. The good news is as gum disease clears, risk lowers.
Effective, daily oral hygiene is the best way to prevent oral-health problems. The first sign of inflammation of the gums is gingivitis, or bleeding when flossing or brushing teeth. ‘When people see this, they think they have damaged their gums and often scale back their daily routine,’ says Dr Alavi. ‘But in fact it’s a sign you need to be even more scrupulous.’ So, if you see any blood when you brush, immediately start cleaning teeth twice a day, one being last thing at night, using a toothpaste with proven antibacterial protection, and flossing regularly.
If things don’t improve, see your dentist, who can advise you. Don’t ignore it, though – as well as all the health problems already mentioned, advanced gum disease is the most common cause of tooth loss in adulthood. Remember, gum disease is largely preventable, and can be treated if diagnosed early enough.
Take care of your gums
See your dentist regularly.
Not everyone needs to visit the dentist every six months, but if you suffer from gum problems, your dentist will let you know how often you need to be seen.
Make sure you see your dentist if you’re pregnant.
During this time, gums are more prone to becoming inflamed and gum disease is more likely to occur, so think of visiting the dentist being as important as attending antenatal classes. Dental treatment is free during pregnancy.
You don’t need another reason to stop, but smokers have a higher risk of gum problems than non-smokers – and if they do get gum disease it’s likely to become serious more quickly. Gums of smokers don’t respond as well to treatment, too, so giving up really does make a difference to your gums.
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Why us Colgate?
Colgate Total Advanced offers complete protection for a healthy mouth and guards against the main oral health problems. Clinically proven to provide non-stop 12 hour protection against bacteria, it’s the number one toothpaste brand used by dentists*.
*COLGATE PROFESSIONAL SURVEY, 300 DENTISTS, 2014