Your oral health is inextricably linked to your overall health. Without proper oral hygiene and regular dental exams, the bacteria in your mouth can reach dangerously high levels, resulting in serious oral infections such as tooth decay and periodontal (gum) disease.
Many people do not realize that poor oral health can contribute to all kinds of medical conditions including heart disease and stroke, diabetes, osteoporosis, Alzheimer’s disease, premature birth and low birth weight and many other conditions.
To maintain good oral health, you must brush your teeth after every meal – bacteria begin growing just minutes after eating. Flossing daily is just as important as brushing. It removes plaque and bacteria that you cannot reach with your toothbrush. Other steps to maintain good oral health include:
- Eating healthy (see Canada’s Food Guide to Healthy Eating) and drinking plenty of water
- Visiting your dentist every six months
- Never smoking cigarettes
- Avoiding soft drinks sweetened with sugar
- Carrying a travel-sized toothbrush and brushing after meals, especially after eating sweets