How proper oral health can have an impact on your overall well-being

Good oral hygiene is essential. Your ability to eat and speak can all be impaired by swollen or bleeding gums, missing teeth, infections, and oral discomfort.

Oral Health Month is a good time to take stock of your routine of oral care and to consider how proper oral health can impact your overall well-being.

How can you take care of your teeth? Here are a few tips:

1. Brush your teeth. Do it at least twice a day for two to three minutes each day. Gently brush with circular short back-and-forth motions. Brushing to hard can hurt your gums. Do not forget to clean your tongue also, with either a toothbrush or tongue scraper.

Use a toothpaste that contains fluoride and a soft-bristled toothbrush. One may consider using an electric or battery-operated toothbrush which is found to reduce the incidence of having plaque and gum infection than manual brushing.

2. Floss after you brush. It is more effective than brushing alone, as it helps to remove food debris and bacteria from places the toothbrush cannot reach. Floss gently into the space between your gum and tooth. Use it also on the side of the tooth in an up-and-down motion.

3. Eat healthy. Make healthy food choices rich in calcium, phosphorus, vitamin A, vitamin C, and vitamin D rich in omega-3 fats.

4. Quit smoking. Smoking not only adversely affects your overall well-being, but can also seriously harm your teeth, gums, and mouth. Nicotine and tar in tobacco will make your teeth yellow in a short time and turn them brown after a couple of years.

5. Exercise regularly. Regular exercise, meditation and deep breathing can help diminish the negative impact of stress on your mouth and immune system.

6. If you have Diabetes, be compliant with your medications and follow the recommended diet to keep your sugar controlled. This will decrease the risk for other complications like gum diseases.

7. If your medications cause dry mouth, you may do the following: increase your water intake, chew sugarless gum and avoid alcohol and tobacco products.

Most importantly, make sure to schedule regular dental appointments with your dentist. Although brushing and flossing your teeth at home is vital for removing the plaque, you cannot remove the tartar on your own. You need to keep up with your daily dental appointments. Many people would continue to visit their dentists every six months for regular cleaning and check-up.

After all, having good gums and teeth will make us end up with a smile.