{ MIND & BODY }

BRUSH UP

The New To-Do List for Oral Health

SHUTTERSTOCK.COM
SHUTTERSTOCK.COM

October is dental hygiene month, but your mouth’s health should be a top priority all year long.

LEARN ABOUT ORAL SYSTEMIC HEALTH
Did you know that bacteria from bleeding gums and cavities leads to systemic disease affecting your whole body? Over the past few years, it has become increasingly evident that poor oral health can lead to heart attack, stroke, cardiovascular disease, Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, premature birth, and other life-threatening conditions. Since prevention is the best cure, make the proper care of your mouth, teeth, and gums a priority.

MAINTAIN A HEALTHY MOUTH
Yes, you’ve heard this before, but for good reason! Brush your teeth at least twice a day with toothpaste because bacteria grows in the mouth every 12 hours. Floss daily between your teeth where brush bristles cannot reach. Skip flossing and you allow bacteria to thrive, leading to bad breath, tooth decay, and gum disease. Eat a healthy diet and limit between-meal snacks. Avoid tobacco use. Replace your toothbrush every three months or sooner if bristles are frayed. Also, bacteria is communicable. Make sure your mouth is disease-free before sharing food and utensils. Schedule regular dental checkups and cleanings, and keep your appointments!

VISIT THE DENTAL HYGIENIST REGULARLY
Thanks to modern advances, patients can relax and enjoy 

teeth cleanings. New technologies have paved the way for faster, more efficient appointments and have improved the accuracy and safety level of diagnosis equipment. For example, at state-of-the-art dental offices such as Sarah Winter Dental in La Jolla, a wireless x-ray system digitally transfers images with minimal radiation. And, a simple saliva test, involving a swipe of a cotton swab beneath the gum line, allows the dentist to identify exact pathogenic bacteria and their risks.

TRUST YOUR HYGIENIST WITH MORE THAN YOUR TEETH
The knee bone is connected to the hip bone and the jaw bone too. Today’s dental hygienists are trained to be aware of the whole body. Recently, one hygienist at Sarah Winter Dental detected a lesion on a patient’s arm and advised her to have it checked by a dermatologist. It was first stage melanoma! Another hygienist had a hunch that the cause of one patient’s bad breath was a sinus infection and advised her on how to treat it. “We’re really thorough,” says Nicole Healy, a registered dental hygienist who works at Sarah Winter Dental. “When the body is fighting other diseases, it’s more susceptible to periodontal disease; and when you have periodontal disease, it’s harder to fight off other diseases.”

Today’s dental hygienist treats each patient as an individual. So, if you simply cannot get yourself to practice the healthy mouth tips listed here, speak up! There are alternatives. Now is the time to discover them.