Good oral hygiene, including regular dental visits, does more than give you an attractive smile. There are the obvious reasons that oral hygiene is important, like helping to prevent tooth decay and gum disease. But did you know a healthy mouth may also help protect you against serious medical conditions, including heart attacks, stroke, and pre-term births?
Dental and health problems caused by poor oral hygiene can be expensive or simply unaffordable if you don’t have insurance to cover them. Case in point, nearly 7 million Canadians don’t go to the dentist each year because it’s too expensive. 2019 figures also showed that the average Canadian household spends over $2,780 out of pocket on health and dental expenses like prescription drugs, dental care, and more.
The Cost of Bad Oral Hygiene
But avoiding the dentist can come at a price: medical research shows that avoiding the dentist’s office could land you in the doctor’s office. At any given time, over 500 different types of bacteria are living in your mouth, within the plaque on your teeth alone. Bad oral hygiene causes plaque to accumulate on your teeth along the gum line and can cause gingivitis which, if left untreated, can lead to serious gum disease. This can eventually result in tooth decay, requiring costly dental procedures and gum surgery.
Pain from abscessed teeth, extractions, cavities, and gum disease can be so debilitating that it causes people to miss work or school. Research shows that people with gum disease may also be at a higher risk for heart disease and stroke; cardiovascular disease can result in the need for therapy, medication, and even surgery. What’s more, on top of being a serious medical issue, cardiovascular disease can also be quite costly – in fact, it’s the most costly disease in the country, costing Canadians $21.2 billion in combined medical expenses and lost income.
Unfortunately, there are even more diseases linked to bad oral health, as gum disease can also cause diabetic complications. If you have diabetes and aren’t controlling it effectively, your body’s ability to fight infections like gum disease is compromised. People with diabetes are also more likely to develop severe gum disease.
Benefits of Good Oral Hygiene
Good oral hygiene keeps tooth decay, cavities, sensitive gums, gum disease, and gingivitis away, so that your pearly whites can stay with you longer and healthier as you age. Regular checkups can help keep your smile sparkling and your body healthy.
In addition to preventing all the medical conditions mentioned above, here are some not-so-commonly-known benefits of good oral health:
- Being on top of your oral hygiene can help prevent inflammation in your body. Along with a healthy diet and regular exercise, this can reduce your risk of developing a wide range of medical conditions.
- Good oral hygiene can help you decrease your chance of infertility and have a safer pregnancy! Some studies have even shown that gum disease during pregnancy can lead to premature birth.
- Unfortunately, the bacteria in your mouth doesn’t just stay there. They can also move down to your lungs. Good oral hygiene keeps these bacteria in check and can potentially help you reduce the risk of developing chronic lung diseases such as pneumonia (lung infection).
Below are some oral hygiene tips that you can apply today!
Tips for Good Oral Hygiene
Prevention is the best oral health solution, so here are some tips to help you develop habits for good oral health.
- Brush a minimum of two times a day. Use a fluoride toothpaste, brush for at least two minutes, and don’t forget to brush your tongue. Use a soft-bristled toothbrush and don’t brush too hard.
- Floss daily to help remove plaque and food from between your teeth.
- Eat a healthy diet low in sugar and rich in fibre, fruits, and vegetables.
- Don’t smoke, or if you do, quit. Cigarettes and smokeless tobacco are linked to gum disease and oral cancer.
- Drink unsweetened drinks, like water or tea.
- Visit your dentist regularly for exams and cleanings.
If not having dental insurance is deterring you from going to the dentist and improving your oral dental health, then another tip is to consider purchasing Health and Dental Insurance. Dental Insurance plans in Canada, such as the Manulife CoverMe® Health & Dental Insurance Plans, are designed to help protect you against out-of-pocket health expenses including dental care, prescriptions, eyeglasses, and more. Plans are customizable and affordable.
Protecting your family with a Manulife CoverMe® Health & Dental Insurance Plan can save you hundreds of dollars a year. You can even choose your coverage and pay only for what you need.
How to maintain oral health?
Brush a minimum of two times a day, floss daily, eat a healthy diet, don’t smoke, and visit your dentist regularly!
Why is oral health important?
There are the obvious reasons, like keeping your teeth for longer and helping to prevent tooth decay and gum disease. But good oral health may also help protect you against serious medical conditions, including heart attacks, stroke, and pre-term births.
Can bad oral hygiene cause heart problems?
There is no direct correlation between oral health hygiene and heart disease. But bad oral hygiene can increase inflammation throughout your body and may increase your risk of developing heart problems.