Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Wellness Wednesday / "Delia's Dose"

This past Monday I went for my 6 month dental check up. As I was laying there with my mouth wide open and that bright light aimed at my mouth worrying about how my nose hairs probably look magnified, I thought…how much does our oral health affect our overall health?

Our mouths are FULL of bacteria and most of the time proper brushing and flossing keeps the bacteria under control. If that bacteria gets out of control and causes tooth decay or gum disease and is allowed to enter into your bloodstream…bad things can happen!

Bad bacteria can end up in your arteries and form plaque, which can lead to a heart attack. If your gums are inflamed, your body will think it needs to send out chemicals to fight infection. It is believed that these chemicals circulating in your blood may also lead to plaque in the arteries. So, without getting too technical here…TAKE CARE OF YOUR TEETH!

Healthy teeth and gums are also important if you are planning on having a baby. Studies show that gum disease increases the risk for low birth weight and preterm labor! Oh my!

Other studies show that breathing in all that bad bacteria can actually lead to certain types of pneumonia. Researchers wonder if this is why pneumonia in nursing homes can be common because of the percentage of patients that have poor oral health. There are also studies being done to see if there is a  connection between gum disease and arthritis. Apparently there is a great number of people with rheumatoid arthritis that have periodontal disease…hmmm…we shall see what the scientists decide.

It seems we have like 400 different types of bacteria in our mouths(WOW! Again, I will chose not to expand on that, since my boss will be reading this…but knowing this kind of makes me rethink all that kissing I did in high school…. and college… YIKES!), but only 15 of them actually cause gum disease! You can avoid gum disease and tooth decay by not smoking, brushing at least twice a day, floss at least once a day, replace your toothbrush every 3-4 months, and make sure to see your dentist twice a year for regular cleanings! See…it’s THAT EASY!

Here’s a little tip that I follow: Ya know how after you’ve had that morning cup (or 2 or 3) of coffee and you want to brush your teeth to get rid of that coffee breath…well it’s best to wait at least 30 minutes before you brush. Acidic food and drink can weaken the tooth enamel and if you brush too soon you can actually damage the enamel. “Why oh Why should I care about my tooth enamel, Delia?” Well, get this…tooth enamel is the hardest mineral source in your body, even stronger than bone! It’s the stuff that helps protect your teeth against tooth decay, and now that you know that tooth decay can lead to things like heart disease,  I just know you are going to get serious about taking care of your teeth, right?!

Have a Healthy Week!

DISCLAIMER: Delia is not a Doctor, Nutritionist, or Registered Dietitian. She is simply a person dedicated to eating healthy foods and living a healthy lifestyle. She loves to help and inspire others to do the same!

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