Importance of Oral Hygiene

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By Andrew H. Jones

Oral hygiene is essential to a person’s overall health. “The simple acts of brushing and flossing are instilled in us so that we maintain our “pearly whites;” yet, oral health is much more than clean teeth; it involves the gums and their supporting tissues, the palate, the lining of the mouth and throat, the tongue, the lips, the salivary glands, the chewing muscles, the nerves, and the bones of the upper and lower jaws” (Benjamin, 2010). Good oral hygiene is important not only for social interactions with others, for a self-esteem aspect, but also imperative for heart health too. Let us explore how oral hygiene effects the body.

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Diseased, crooked or missing teeth can interfere with speech; compromise the ability to chew food properly without difficulty and pain. Bacteria from improper oral care of the mouth will lead to infection in other parts of the body.

  • Heart disease – Bacteria in the bloodstream can travel to the heart and lead to a heart attack.
  • Endocarditis – Bacteria may find its way to the inner linings of the heart and valves, which in turn, create growth pockets of bacteria. These pockets cause inflammation and infection of the inner linings of the heart.
  • Stroke – It is a belief that oral bacteria may be a contributing factor to the arteries narrowing as well as blood clots easily forming because of the body’s negative response to the bacteria in the bloodstream.
  • Inflammation – Inflamed gums and bleeding may cause systemic inflammation.
  • Rheumatoid Arthritis – It is a known fact that periodontal disease will worsen the pain already suffered by those inflicted with this autoimmune disorder.
  • Lung Condition – Those already suffering from COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) and pneumonia may have their condition worsened due to an increase of bacteria in their lungs from the lack of good oral hygiene” (Six health problems linked to bad oral hygiene, 2017).

For those who need a refresher, here is why oral health is so crucial: Every time you eat, food particles stick to your teeth. If you do not brush and floss daily, the particles attract bacteria and form a slimy coating on teeth called plaque. With less than a week of inattentiveness, plaque calcifies into hard tartar that does not come off without dental assistance, and begins to lodge into the gum line. Thus, the gums become inflamed (gingivitis) the first stage of periodontal (gum) disease; little pockets open up between the teeth and the gums. Over time, the pockets get bigger, driven by festering bacteria that eat away at the tooth and its supporting architecture, eventually consuming it.

Prevention is always the best form of health care.

  • Establish daily brushing and flossing routines
  • Dental check-ups every six months
  • Avoid tobacco, high-sugar content foods and beverages

“Oral health can be a gateway to your overall well-being. Oral hygiene, a balanced diet, and regular dental visits can help reduce the risk of developing oral health issues and disease (Dr. Maryam Mahmood, DMD, Sun Life Family Health Center, 2017). Sun Life Family Dentistry offers comprehensive services to prevent, diagnose and treat those who may be suffering from oral health discomfort to achieve dental health that we all desire. Our highly trained and skilled providers are advanced with cutting-edge technology in dentistry to provide the most current treatment options for our patients. Standing true to the Sun Life Family Health Center Vision: Excellence in: Health – Wellness – Education


Dr. Maryam Mahmood, DMD – Sun Life Family Health Center, 2017

MD, MBA Benjamin, R. M. (Mar-Apr 2010). Oral Health: The Silent Epidemic. Retrieved from 

Six health problems linked to bad oral hygiene. (2017). Retrieved from