Your gum health tells us a lot about your overall health

By Philips Oral Health

When you think oral health, you think teeth right? Well, yes but did you know that, oral health goes beyond that? In fact, taking care of your tongue and your gums should rank as equally important as the health of your teeth. However, scarily enough, in an online poll*, 50% of people consider the state of their teeth and gums to be no better than average.

Even more scary is that neglecting the health of your gums and excluding them from your oral health routine can lead to multiple health issues. In fact, if left

untreated these problems can cultivate into dangerous health problems such as periodontal disease, a severe gum disease that can be found in 5 – 20% of middle aged adults in South Africa.

Periodontal disease can also lead to other health issues such as heart disease, stroke, difficulty controlling blood sugar levels (if already diagnosed with diabetes) or may lead to respiratory problems. Crazy right!

As shocking as this sounds, it’s clear that oral hygiene should not be taken lightly, attention should be placed on what to do, when and how often to ensure your mouth is as healthy as possible and that it is not the cause of any associated illness or health concerns.

Maintaining a healthy oral health routine to ensure healthy gums and teeth and a healthy body is a must and below are some tips and tricks of how to improve your overall oral health:

  • Watch what you eat and drink and take calcium and vitamin D. These help with bone density, strengthening and keeping your teeth healthy
  • You should brush your teeth twice a day for approximately two minutes at a time, and if possible after every meal. Once after breakfast and once before you go to bed.
  • Replace your toothbrush every two – five months or when the bristles start wearing out
  • Get adventurous and test out an electronic toothbrush – these are more effective than you’ll ever be at removing plaque and bacteria, and will protect your gums from aggressive brushing. In fact, products like Philips Sonicare provides optimal cleaning between teeth and along the gumline for improved gum health in just two weeks
  • Do not forget to rinse and clean your toothbrush after use, store it upright to allow it to air dry
  • Floss once a day. Flossing isn’t there to replace brushing your teeth – rather it’s a complimentary method to achieving optimal dental hygiene by reaching those difficult areas that a normal toothbrush can’t reach. And if you don’t like the traditional floss – try an airfloss, as hygienists have seen improved gum health in 95% of patients who don’t floss regularly
  • Alcohol free mouth wash can be used from the age of 6, as this is good option to flush out any bacteria, where the toothbrush cannot reach. It can also help maintain strong teeth and a pleasant-smelling breath
  • An annual dental check is essential and if possible visit your dentist twice a year – a good dental clean will last six months before going back for another check-up
  • Start children early – teach them from a young age the importance of brushing and flossing their teeth. Dental care for children should start as soon as they start developing teeth
  • It’s also important to brush your tongue thoroughly when brushing your teeth as it can collect bacteria
  • Avoid sugary foods and drinks as they can contribute to the decay of the teeth. A health balanced diet is recommended
  • Quit smoking. Smoking is not only bad for your overall health, but bad for your gums and teeth as well.

Oral health care is vital not only for maintaining a healthy and sparkly smile, but it plays a role in maintaining your overall health. Take all these tips into account next time you make a decision about your oral health. Simple and easy steps can be included in your daily oral health routine to help you live a healthy life.


* Philips Oral conducted this survey with lifestyle publications, where over 580 respondents participated in the oral health snap-shot online poll.

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