Good dental health contributes to overall health

Believe it or not, brushing your teeth is one of the simplest ways to help maintain to your overall health.

This is because dental health is more connected to overall health than most people realize. In fact, doctors and scientists continue to find associations between oral disease and other diseases. Some researchers think that bacteria in the mouth - when they build up and cause inflammation and infection - can contribute to an increased risk of illness or disease elsewhere in the body.

When you have clean teeth and healthy gums, there are fewer bad bacteria to enter your bloodstream and travel to other parts of your body. But an invasive oral surgery, certain medications, or untreated gum disease due to poor oral hygiene could allow these bacteria to spread. Researchers continue to study the links between oral health and overall health.

The bottom line: You can help protect and promote your overall health by maintaining good dental health. Brush your teeth twice daily and floss at least once a day.

These days, so many products are available to help you maintain clean teeth that there is no excuse to avoid good dental care. For example, if your gums are sensitive, in general or due to a recent illness or other medical condition, don't neglect your oral health. Try using an interdental cleaner or an electric flosser to make dental care more comfortable. And you may want to use a soft-bristled toothbrush to avoid gum irritation. If you have questions about what products are right for you, ask your dentist or dental hygienist.

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