Oral health is a window into your overall health

Study show that healthy – and unhealthy – nutrition habits are reflected in the health of teeth and gums.

Oral health is a window into the status of your overall health. There is more to oral health than just caring for your teeth; it is being mindful to make healthy food choices, engage in physical activity and maintaining an oral care routine. Yet, in the United States and Tribal Reservations, poverty and lack of access to oral health care for has led to an increase in tooth decay, heart disease, immune system and periodontal disease. However, there are preventative measures a person can practice daily to delay the onset of various oral health issues.

According to the Toddler Overweight and Tooth Decay Prevention Study (TOTS), which targeted American Indians from birth to 30 months of age, when toddlers were switched from soda to water, “a decrease of between 30 and 63 percent in early stage, potentially reversible tooth decay, was noted.” This finding highlights the importance of making healthy nutrition choices.

It is also important to brush your teeth at least twice daily and floss. If you have arthritis or have difficulty brushing your teeth, try an electric or battery operated tooth brush to make this activity easier and more enjoyable. Your mouth is a place where bacteria grows and multiples, so when you are finished brushing your teeth, be sure to rinse your toothbrush off thoroughly and allow it to air dry, standing up to prevent the growth of bacteria. Also, replacing your tooth brush every three to four months will decrease your chances of developing an infection.

If you notice a change in your mouth, teeth or have pain, be sure to contact your dentist, local health department or health care provider to address your area of concern.

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