Why Is Oral Hygiene So Important?

Oral hygiene is actually considered preventative care, just like annual physicals and routine blood work. If you take good care of your teeth and gums, you can stop dental health problems like cavities, gum disease, and even bad breath. Not to mention it helps stop other health issues as well. Oral health is also related to your entire body’s health. For example, if you have an infection in your mouth, the bacteria can actually travel through your bloodstream to other parts of your body. This bacteria can lead to heart disease and strokes. So, taking care of your mouth is an important part of staying healthy in general. Below we’ll look closer at how healthy mouths mean healthy bodies, as well as tips on how to take care of your teeth between dentist visits.

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Reduce Risk Of Disease

When we talk about our overall health, we don’t usually think about our teeth and gums. But we really should! Taking care of your mouth can make you less likely to get sick. Research shows that gingivitis or periodontitis (forms of gum disease) can lead to a number of health problems.

Cardiovascular Disease anatomical heart

Healthy gums are one way to lower your risk of heart disease. Periodontal disease is a direct cause of inflammation in your arteries. When the bacteria from your mouth gets into your bloodstream, it causes the arteries to harden. In turn, this increases your risk of heart attack or stroke. Bad oral health is also linked to high blood pressure and dense LDL cholesterol, which raises the risk of heart disease even more.

Alzheimer’s Disease

Bad oral hygiene will inevitably lead to inflamed gums. When oral bacteria travels to the brain, it can actually kill your brain cells! This leads to memory loss. It’s currently estimated that around 40 million people are currently living with Alzheimer’s or dementia worldwide. A pathogenic oral bacteria called spirochetes has been studied as a possible cause of Alzheimer’s disease. This is because significantly more spirochetes bacteria are found in Alzheimer’s patient’s brains than those without Alzheimer’s.


According to the American Diabetes Association (ADA), 37.3 million Americans currently have diabetes, with many more unaware that they even have it. Periodontal diseases can increase the risk of developing or worsening diabetes. This is because periodontal disease makes it difficult for your body to regulate your blood sugar. Just like periodontal disease can cause or worsen diabetes, diabetes can also cause periodontal disease. If you have diabetes it can increase your risk of dental problems that can then offset other health problems. This is because Diabetes increases the risk of infection. In fact 95% of diabetic adults also suffer from periodontal disease.

High-Risk Pregnancy

Researchers have discovered a direct link between gum disease in pregnant women and low birth weight and preterm labors. Premature or low weight infants are susceptible to brain injuries, as well as vision and eyesight problems. Just like with diabetes not only can gum disease cause issues with your pregnancy, your pregnancy can cause issues with your teeth and gums. So it’s important to take close care of your teeth if you’re pregnant or plan to become pregnant. These issues include:


  • Gingivitis – This is more likely to happen during your second trimester. Symptoms include gum swelling and bleeding, specifically when brushing and flossing your teeth.
  • Periodontal disease – This is an infection of the structures that support your teeth (gums, ligament, and bones). It happens as a result of untreated gingivitis and can lead to losing your teeth.
  • Pregnancy Epulis – This is a red, round growth around your gums that can easily begin to bleed.
  • Tooth Decay – Your pregnancy hormones relax the ring that holds your food inside your stomach. If you suffer from gastric reflux or vomiting from morning sickness, your stomach acids can coat your teeth. Repeated vomiting and reflux can damage your tooth enamel and increase the risk of tooth decay.


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Obstructive Sleep Apnea

Teeth grinding is one of the first signs of obstructive sleep apnea. Grinding your teeth can lead to tooth decay and inflamed gums, increasing your risk of infection. Sleep apnea is also directly linked with hypertension, heart disease, and headaches.

Respiratory Issues

When oral bacteria is inhaled into your lungs or absorbed in your bloodstream it can cause some serious respiratory problems. Bacteria can cause respiratory infections, bronchitis, pneumonia, COPD, and lung disease once it’s in your lungs.


Cancer is another issue related to oral health. Researchers have discovered that periodontitis can contribute to the development of pancreatic cancer. The bacteria that cause periodontitis can be dangerous, as they damage the tissue surrounding the teeth. Adults with poor oral health were more likely to contract an oral virus that can cause human papillomavirus (HPV), which can also cause cancer. Periodontal disease can also cause lung and blood cancer.

Rheumatoid Arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis is an inflammatory disease, as we know poor oral hygiene can lead to periodontal disease which causes inflammation in the mouth that eventually spreads to the rest of the body. John Hopkins investigated the link between poor oral health and rheumatoid arthritis. The inflammatory response of joints in Rheumatoid Arthritis patients is comparable to the inflammatory response of a patient’s mouth with Periodontal disease.


If periodontal disease gets bad enough, the inflammation and infection can cause a loss of bone tissue. Studies reveal that periodontal disease affects all of the body’s bones, not just the jawbone and teeth. Both osteoporosis and periodontal disease are associated with estrogen deficiency, low mineral bone density, and low vitamin D levels according to the research.

Erectile Dysfunction

Poor oral health can even affect your sex life! Periodontal disease creates infection-prone pockets in your mouth. With the presence of bacteria and infection in your bloodstream, your blood vessels can become inflamed and block blood flow to your genitals. In fact, men with periodontal disease are three times more likely to experience erectile dysfunction than men with healthy mouths. 

Signs of Poor Oral Hygiene 

Poor oral hygiene manifests itself in a variety of ways. Including bleeding, swollen gums, toothaches, and abnormal growths. Here are some of the most common indicators that you aren’t brushing or flossing properly.

Tooth Pain

If you have tooth pain, the last thing you want to do is ignore it. Even if you immediately start brushing and flossing more, it’s likely that the pain will continue. Tooth pain is frequently the result of serious tooth decay. Once the decay reaches the tooth the only way to stop it is with a dentist’s help. Tooth pain can also be a sign of:



  • Chipped, broken, or fractured tooth
  • Ill fitting crowns
  • Abscess
  • Infection

All of which can begin to cause other dental and overall health problems.

Bleeding/Swollen Gums

Bleeding, swelling, and color changes in your gums are all indications of poor oral hygiene. There may be an underlying problem with your gum health. If you’re in the beginning stages of gum disease, only a dentist can find out for sure. Treating your gums will prevent the disease from spreading to the point that your gums recede and your teeth begin to fall out.

Changes In Your Tongue

Changes in the texture or color of the tongue indicate either poor oral hygiene or deteriorating oral health. Every single night, you must thoroughly brush your tongue. If you dread cleaning your tongue due to the gag reflex, use a tongue scraper instead. If you notice changes in your tongue after your nightly brushings, consult your dentist.


Some patients experience oral growths along their gums. Others don’t notice them until a dentist points them out. Finding and treating abnormal growths is very important. These growths can easily lead to oral cancer.

Bad Breath

Nobody enjoys bad breath. While you can try to use gum or mints to mask it, taking care of your teeth is the best way to prevent it. When you don’t brush or floss properly food particles can get stuck in your mouth and create the odor. Even when not eating, a sticky film of bacteria called plaque will begin to form on your teeth which will also cause bad breath. This plaque will irritate your gums and ultimately lead to tooth decay.

Improving Your Dental Health

After all of that, you’re sure to want to start taking better care of your mouth and you can start immediately.


  • Brush your teeth 2x a day – Brush with fluoride toothpaste and a soft bristled toothbrush. This helps remove plaque and bacteria from your gum line. Make sure to brush every surface of your teeth including the backs and sides.
  • Floss 1x a day – Brushing alone won’t reach all of the spaces between your teeth. To get to those areas you’ll want to take about an 18 inch piece of floss, wrap it around your middle fingers and use your thumb and forefingers to slide the floss between each tooth.
  • Brush your tongue – Your tongue essentially acts like a sponge for bacteria. When you brush your teeth you’ll want to brush your tongue as well. Using either a toothbrush or tongue scraper.
  • Use mouthwash daily – Antibacterial mouthwash will stop harmful bacteria from growing. It also helps get rid of food and plaque that is stuck to your teeth.
  • Quit smoking – Tobacco use is the leading cause of periodontal disease and oral cancer. These products are best avoided altogether. If you currently smoke and wish to quit, consult your healthcare provider about available treatment options.
  • Visit your dentist regularly – Exams and cleanings of the teeth on a regular basis are essential for good oral health. Many patients benefit from six-month visits. However, if you are prone to cavities, gum disease, or other oral health issues, you may need to visit your dentist more frequently.

Working With EZ

Dental insurance may not always appear to be necessary. However, it is, because dental health can impact overall health. Gum disease, if left untreated, can lead to heart problems, strokes, and respiratory issues. Having dental insurance will allow you to maintain a healthy mouth and body without worrying about costly medical bills. To begin searching for dental insurance, please enter your zip code below or call one of our licensed agents at 877-670-3557.

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You’re Never Fully Dressed Without… A Smile, So Take Care Of Your Teeth!

A recent national survey found that the number 1 way to attract people is with a beautiful smile. But having a healthy mouth is about more than flashing your pearly whites to impress others. Current research is drawing connections between oral health issues and serious health problems, such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and even some cancers. And despite being told about the importance of oral health for most of their lives, only 85% of women and 66% of men over the age of 18 brush their teeth twice a day. In honor of National Smile Week (August 10-16), we’ve rounded up reminders of things to avoid, healthy habits to embrace, and tools you need to to keep your whole mouth feeling fresh and healthy!

Things to Avoid

black coffee in a white up and saucer with a sugar cube in a spoon over the cup, and coffee beans on the table
Drinking coffee stains your teeth and can also damage the protective layer of tooth enamel.

Let’s go back to the basics. Here are things that we know are bad for our teeth and that we should avoid:

  • Coffee and tea: Not only does drinking coffee and tea stain your teeth, but drinking these acidic beverages can also damage the protective layer of tooth enamel, causing greater risk for tooth sensitivity. If you must indulge, be sure to brush your teeth after your morning cup of Joe. 
  • Soda and sweets: This one might seem obvious, but limiting soda and sweets does wonders for oral health, as the sugary compounds in these treats feed plaque bacteria and cause it to multiply. Soda also has acidic qualities similar to coffee. 
  • Smoking: Smoking stains your teeth, damages the surface of your tongue, and puts you at a great risk for developing throat, gum, and lung cancers. 
  • Trendy teeth whiteners: Despite the many claims by manufacturers that teeth whiteners are safe, the American Dental Association cautions that most whitening agents can cause erosion to protective enamels, putting you at risk for sensitivity and damage. If you must whiten, consult with your dentist about your personal risk profile and safer options.

Build Healthier Habits

The best defense is a good offense, so make sure you’re taking good care of your teeth with these habits:

toothpaste, toothbrush, and floss all lined up on a white table.

  • Brush, floss, mouthwash: These three steps should be a part of your everyday routine! Brush at least twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste to rebuild and protect tooth enamel. Flossing every day might seem like a chore, especially if flossing is painful or causes bleeding, but it’s important for gum and tooth health – plus, the more you floss the stronger your gums get, which reduces the discomfort. Finally, dentists recommend mouthwash to get to those hard-to-brush places and to remineralize your mouth. 
  • Water and crunchy vegetables: Staying well-hydrated is key to a healthy mouth. Dry mouth increases the risk of plaque and bacteria growth, resulting in cavities and thrush. Crunchy vegetables help strengthen your teeth, and chewing them helps scrape off plaque in between brushings. 
  • Visit your dentist: Some people only visit their dentist when they have a problem, but that is the problem! Routine visits to the dentists are a preventative measure, so visit them every six months for a deep cleaning. Some health insurance plans offer basic dental care, so check with your provider to see if you’re covered.

Tools of the Trade

Once you’ve made healthy habits a part of your routine, step your game up with these additional oral health tools: 

  • Electric Toothbrush: While the American Dental Association consensus is that manual toothbrushes get the job done, some people might find electric toothbrushes a necessary upgrade. Depending on the shape of your teeth or any preexisting conditions you may have, your dentist might recommend making the switch to electric. These used to be a pricey investment, but there are many affordable options on the market now.

    illustration of purple water flosser shooting water out onto teeth
    Many dentists recommend water flossers because they’re a low-pain, low-impact way of deep cleaning between the teeth and gums.
  • Water Flosser: Manual flossing might be suitable for most people… if they actually do it. Many dentists recommend water flossers because they’re a low-pain, low-impact way of deep cleaning between the teeth and gums. These tools are especially recommended for people with a heightened risk for gum disease, as well as those with prosthodontics like bridges or crowns as it allows for precise cleaning in tough to reach locations. 
  • Tongue Scraper: This simple tool is vastly underrated. Usually made out of metal, tongue scrapers allow you to thoroughly clean build up and bacteria from your tongue. Dentists recommend scraping 30 times to ensure complete removal, and then rinsing thoroughly with water before bed. This routine also helps alleviate that awful morning breath. 

The Bottom Line

Caring for your teeth can be tedious. 44% of men and 15% of women don’t even brush their teeth twice a day. But for many reasons, from aesthetics to its impact on your overall health , oral care is critical. Don’t delay, start a better oral healthcare routine today!