January 2012

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 13 of 83

live in good health Do a Mouth(and Body) Good "There's an old bumper sticker that says 'ignore your teeth and they'll go away,'" jokes Dr. Bill Graf, a dentist with First Choice Dental. While he likes to laugh, he has a serious message: To have a healthy body, we have to have a healthy mouth. Keep your oral health in tip-top shape with his easy steps Get to the dentist. While daily brushing and flossing re- moves plaque, the film-like substance on your teeth, a good cleaning by your dentist removes tartar, the harder material toothbrushes can't touch. Not only is removing tartar build- up key to your oral health, your dentist will also take care of oral cancer screenings, periodontal disease screening and more that are key to your overall health. Get an appointment on your calendar at least two or three times a year. Don't slack at home. The recommendations won't surprise you one bit: Grab your toothbrush at least two or three times a day and floss at least once. Taking these steps aren't just for protecting against cavities, they're about preventing periodontal disease. An inflammation of the gums and supporting tissues of the teeth, periodontal disease may seem minor at first (that bit of bleeding or puffy feeling around your teeth) but can progress to serious bone loss around the teeth and eventually tooth loss. Not only that, our mouths are full of bacteria. When those puffy, sensitive gums bleed, the bacteria can make its way into our circulation and the rest of our bodies. For this reason, poor oral hygiene has been linked to endocarditis, an infection around the inner lining of the heart, as well as cardiovascular disease. Wet your whistle. A special concern as we get older is lower saliva production, or dry mouth. In our mouths, saliva makes it more difficult for bacteria to grow and, therefore, prevent progression of periodontal disease. Dentist-ap- proved choices to wet your whistle include chewing sugar- free gum, sipping water or sucking on ice chips. If you're older and on medications, take note: An estimated eight out of 10 of the most common drugs for elderly patients can cause dry mouth. If this is the case for you, communicate with your dentist to discuss what remedy may be best. Try something new. While standard toothbrushes and floss do the trick, electric oral appliances can do an even better job when used correctly. They also make dental care easier for those with mobility issues, such as arthritis. Look for electric toothbrushes, a flosser such as the Waterpik, or air floss, a device that blows bacteria and debris out between your teeth, to keep it simple, painless and easier to use everyday. 12 BRAVA Magazine January 2012

Articles in this issue

Archives of this issue

view archives of Brava - January 2012