Learn how heart disease, arthritis & other inflammatory issues can be helped by these tips.
Oral health impacts you and your family in more ways than you can imagine. For example, did you know that there is a link between good oral care and arthritis prevention?
We often wonder why some of us get sick while others enjoy their full lives without ever having to deal with serious health concerns. There is definetly some blame on lifestyle habits, genetics, dumb luck, and more factors variable to your life. But what if the secret to good health lies inside your mouth, would you be willing to take this secret seriously?
How important is oral health?
Traditionally we brush our teeth to get rid of bad tastes, smell/halitosis and for aesthetic reasons. However, researchers have found evidence that proper oral health is beneficial in heart disease prevention and actually helps prevent inflammatory issues.
What about arthritis?
Arthritis, cavities, and gum disease often appear at the same time meaning if you have arthritis you are at more risk of developing oral disease, why?
Rheumatologist Felipe Andrade says, pain and stiffness stemming from arthritis makes flossing and brushing a difficult experience. Couple that with jaw pain, you understand why brushing is not attractive to people living with arthritis. However, the relationship between arthritis and oral health is much more complex than this. In 2016 researchers found that gum infection-causing bacteria or bugs also play a role in triggering crippling joint pain. What happens is, A. actinomycetemcomitans(bacteria), a bug that causes gum disease also causes your immune system to falter.
In simple terms, bacteria in your mouth, lung, and gut could be responsible for arthritis pain.
How does daily brushing and flossing prevent arthritis?
As mentioned above, we brush and floss for four very specific reasons and that is to prevent mouth sores, gum disease, dry mouth, and cavities. What does this have to do with arthritis prevention?
If you have mouth sores, you are at a higher risk of developing arthritis. That is according to Canadian researchers who looked into inflammatory arthritis of the spine and pelvic (ankylosing spondylitis). It is a two-way street meaning sore causing bacteria triggers arthritis and arthritis causes mouth sores.
Mouth sores can also be caused by the medication you're on such as NSAID (anti-inflammatory).
Also, reviews of studies have found that periodontal disease is two times more prevalent in arthritis patients and that people living with gum disease have an increased prevalence in rheumatoid arthritis.
Some arthritis risk factors such as gender, age, and inherited traits or genetics cannot be controlled. Lifestyle habits such as smoking, occupations that require bending and squatting and eating habits can all be controlled. You can lessen your chances of getting arthritis by simply practicing proper oral health.
What age can you start using an electric toothbrush
Dentists recommend starting around three to four years. The early mentioned oral health problems that trigger arthritis share one thing in common. These are symptoms of neglect or not knowing how to brush properly.
You might not be using the right technique, find out why here!
The problem is often in the stroke and angling. What makes electric toothbrushes better is that the heads rotate and oscillate as well as the different brushing modes such as sensitivity, deep cleaning, whitening, and tongue cleaning guarantee better results than manual brushes.
That means, an electric toothbrush is both a preventative measure against arthritis and a coping mechanism. If you have arthritis, you can maintain a healthy mouth without pain.
If you are living with arthritis, relieve pain by:
- Get a quality electric toothbrush.
- Use water flossers instead of dental floss.
- Clean your teeth professionally twice yearly.
Oral health and heart disease
If you have been keeping an eye on health news lately, you may have noticed report after report saying "people who have poor oral health are at higher risk of cardiovascular diseases such as stroke or heart attack". What is this connection between oral health and heart health?
Three theories connect this assumption. One is a factor that you can control such as smoking or lack of exercise that impacts oral health leading to cardiovascular issues. The second, paint your immune system as the culprit. This means your body reacts to oral bacteria by setting off a cascade of vascular damage throughout your body. The last is gum bacteria leading to gingivitis, blood vessel inflammation and tiny blood clots that may trigger a stroke or heart attack.
There is a lot of debate in the medical field around this topic but one thing is for sure! Proper oral health plays a role in preventing heart disease.
If you don't brush and floss often enough, bacteria and viruses will accumulate in your mouth. Resulting in a higher risk of bacterial infection in your bloodstream so oral bacteria puts your heart at risk.
How to maintain a healthy heart through oral hygiene
At least 80% of us have some form of gingivitis in our mouths. This problem usually happens because we miss some areas when brushing. On top of that smoking, diabetes, and plenty of other common afflictions weaken our immune system. This leaves us open to viral and bacterial attacks.
Why choose an electric toothbrush if you are at risk of heart disease?
Unlike manual toothbrushes, using an electric toothbrush only requires you to hold it in place which means you can target all your teeth with precision. Also, you don't have to over-extend your mouth to reach all areas.
Take Roaman's electric toothbrushes as an example, unlike traditional brushes, Roaman Electric Toothbrushes are designed to disrupt and remove plaque, bacteria, and biofilm for hard to reach areas. The heads feel comfortable and you get a 60-day long lasting battery. Another benefit is the T10 electric toothbrushes prevent neglect by offering pause in vibration every 30 seconds that tells you when to move to the next quadrant of your mouth.
What does poor oral hygiene mean?
As we have seen proper oral hygiene keeps you safe from arthritis and heart disease, lets now switch our focus and talk about why investing in an electric toothbrush is the best option.
Not that there is anything wrong with your manual toothbrush, the problem lies in its usage. If you prefer manual brushes, make sure that you don't use too much pressure and you don't neglect some areas of your mouth.
What are the signs of poor oral hygiene?
Even if you brush your teeth daily, if you notice the following signs/symptoms, it tells you that you are not brushing well enough:
- Bleeding or swollen gums: may be triggered by an underlying issue, using too much force when brushing, or an irritant under your gums.
- Tongue alterations: changes in tongue texture and color indicate neglect, trauma, or an underlying illness.
- Growths: apart from blood blisters which are normally caused by trauma or cheek biting, any growth in your mouth, such as sores, lesions, or lumps are signs of poor oral hygiene.
- Deteriorating/receding gums: deteriorating gums may be a sign of bad oral health. So, if you notice roots or gum pain, visit a dentist.
How do you get rid of poor oral hygiene?
Every day your oral cavity collects fungi, bacteria and different kinds of viruses. While some of these microorganisms are harmless or beneficial to your health - others inflame, infect, and overtime damage your teeth, gums, and even tongue.
Your first line of defense against oral disease is a quality soft-bristled electric toothbrush, and a water flosser. Here is why the flosser is as important as the toothbrush.
Daily flossing is essential as it prevents plaque and tartar build-up. However, string usage can result in gum damage. If your teeth are too close together, it will require more effort to floss and that can lead to injury and infection.
A water flosser takes out the risk because instead of strings you use water to dislodge food particles from between teeth. But proper oral health/hygiene doesn't end there, you may also have to give up detrimental habits such as:
- Excess consumption of sugary foods and drinks.
On the surface, giving up your habits is easy. But if you think about it, it is way easier to get a quality brush and use it 3 times a day than it is giving up a vice such as smoking. We say get the right tools and if you are at more risk please use your electric toothbrush and water flosser as instructed, brush and floss minimum twice a day!
Who is at the highest risk of oral health disease?
- Children: sugar from food, milk, and juice put your young ones at risk of early childhood caries.
- Women: during your teenage years, early adulthood, menopause/post-menopause, and pregnancy, you are at more risk because of hormonal changes.
- The elderly: more than 60% of elderly people suffer severe periodontal disease.
What can I do to improve oral health?
The first step is knowing how to read the signs by that I mean, if you notice persistent bad breath, abscess, difficulty chewing, extreme sensitivity, bleeding, or swollen gums, you should go see a dentist.
- Fluoride toothpaste
- An electric toothbrush and water pick
- Replace your toothbrush head every three to four months.
- Floss once daily.
- Visit your dentist once or twice a year.
Overall, good oral health touches almost all areas of your life, it affects your overall health, self-esteem, speech, and nutrition. That means taking care of your mouth will impact your quality of life in more ways than one.
However, it all depends on how much effort you're willing to put in. So stay on top of your daily oral care and be the best you can be! And don't forget to bookmark us for more eye-opening pieces!