Did you know certain daily habits can affect both your oral and overall health? For instance, you probably know that you shouldn’t eat candy and sweets all day every day or you will end up with a cavity. At Collins Dentistry & Aesthetics, we want our patients to be as healthy as possible, and to accomplish this, we believe everyone should know about the strong connection between oral and overall health.

1. Brushing and Flossing Regularly

pretty woman brushing her teeth in front of a mirrorOne of the daily habits that have a huge impact on both your oral and overall health is brushing and flossing regularly. Brushing and flossing is a habit that’s ingrained in everyone’s heads from the time they’re able to hold a toothbrush during adolescence. Brushing and flossing prevent cavities. What people don’t realize is that brushing and flossing do so much more than prevent cavities. It also removes harmful bacteria from the mouth. When bacteria rest on the teeth for too long, it can turn into plaque which can then harden into tartar. Plaque and tartar can lead to cavities, bad breath, and gum disease.

Brushing and flossing remove the bacteria and plaque from the surface of teeth as well as under the gum line. When cavities or gum disease form, it can easily lead to an infection in a tooth or the gums (gum disease). If the infection goes untreated, it can have an adverse reaction that affects your entire body. First, the immune system will stop fighting off bacteria and viruses you encounter because it’s too busy trying to fight the infection in your mouth. It can also result in high blood pressure, diabetes, arthritis, pneumonia, and an increased risk for heart attack, stroke, and heart disease.

Brushing and flossing are essential for keeping your whole body healthy.

2. Regular Dental Cleanings

Just like brushing and flossing your teeth regularly is important, so is visiting the dentist every six months. Although brushing and flossing are effective, they don’t always remove all the plaque and tartar from your teeth. That’s where professional dental cleanings come in. When you visit Collins Dentistry & Aesthetics every six months, we will use our professional tools to remove plaque and tartar from the surface of your teeth and from beneath the gum line. This will help prevent cavities and gum disease.

In addition to cleaning your teeth, these appointments also give us an opportunity to search for any other dental problems. Maybe you already have a small cavity or early signs of gum disease. If we identify a problem, we will treat it before it can grow worse. This will save your overall health from consequences and save you from pain and more invasive treatments down the line. Don’t skip your dental appointments!

3. Staying Hydrated

When you don’t drink enough water, it’s common to experience a pretty severe headache and even feel lethargic. It doesn’t just affect your overall health though, it will also affect your oral health. Drinking enough water is important to prevent dry mouth. Dry mouth can increase your risk of cavities and gum disease because there is not enough liquid to constantly wash away bacteria in your mouth. Instead, the bacteria stays put and eventually turns into plaque and tartar. By regularly drinking water throughout the day, it will keep your teeth clean and your breath fresh!

4. Eating Healthy

Eating a lot of processed, sugary, and starchy foods can lead to plaque build-up on your teeth as well as overall health consequences including weight gain, diabetes, high blood pressure, and increased chance for heart disease. By eating a healthy diet full of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins, you can benefit both your oral and overall health.

5. Exercising Regularly

Dr Collins riding his bike next to a beautiful beach

Who would think that exercise has anything to do with your oral health? But it does! Regular exercise can reduce stress which prevents you from clenching or grinding your teeth at night. Clenching and grinding can result in cracked or chipped teeth, receding gums, tooth decay, and TMJ disorder. Additionally, regular exercise can improve your posture which can also play a role in TMJ disorder. Lastly, regular exercise helps promote salivation. Salivation is important for washing away bacteria in your mouth.

Exercise benefits your whole body health by reducing your risk of cardiovascular disease, helping you maintain a healthy weight, and so much more.

Both Drs. Ken and Marnie Collins recognize the oral and overall health benefits of exercise. This is why they’re so passionate about including it in their daily routines!

Drs. Ken and Marnie Collins regularly participate in Ironman races which involve swimming 2.4 miles, riding a bike 112 miles, and running 26.2 miles. To train for Ironman races, they follow exercise and nutrition programs from a coach that involves regular weight training, running, bike riding, and swimming.

Both doctors won 4th place for their age groups in Ironman Florida in November 2020. Dr. Ken Collins competed in IronMan Cozumel two weeks later in December 2020. He recently competed in Ironman Texas and is planning to compete in Ironman Coeur d’Alene in June 2021.

You don’t have to train for an Ironman to benefit your oral and overall health though (unless you want to!). Simply getting the recommended 150 minutes of moderate activity can have huge benefits. Break it up into small amounts if you need to by exercising 30 minutes per day, five days per week.

Protect Your Oral Health – Book Your Next Dental Appointment in Spokane Today

Now that you understand how big of a role your oral health plays in your overall health, you should understand why you shouldn’t skip a dental cleaning. If you’re overdue for a dental cleaning or suspect there’s a dental problem going on, please contact our Spokane dentists at (509) 532-1111 to book an appointment.