Spotlight on Smiling
Our teeth have such an important role to play in our lives. They help us chew and digest food, they help us to talk and speak clearly and they also give our face shape. A smile also has other day-to-day benefits. It can give us greater confidence, as well as influence our social lives, careers and relationships. Because of this, it only makes sense to give our oral health the best care possible. National Smile Month takes place between May 13 and June 13. It is our chance to take a look at our oral health, learn more about why a healthy smile is so important and share tips on how to improve and maintain it. A healthy smile can truly transform our visual appearance, the positivity of our mind-set, as well as improving the health of our mouth and our body too. By brushing our teeth twice daily, maintaining a low-sugar diet and regularly visiting dental professionals, we can help reduce the risk of such diseases like dental decay and gum disease – both of which can result in tooth loss. Research has found that the number of teeth we have is a strongly linked to how long we will live. Those with 20 teeth or more at the age of 70 have a considerably higher chance of living longer than those with fewer than 20 teeth. Tooth loss through dental decay and gum disease are almost entirely preventable and there’s no reason why, with a good daily oral health routine, we cannot keep our teeth for life.
Reducing the risk of disease
When we have gum disease, the bacteria from our mouth can get into the bloodstream. It then produces a protein which causes the blood to thicken. This means that clots are more likely to form, and the heart is not getting the nutrients and oxygen it needs, resulting in increased risk of a heart attack.
Similarly, gum disease can also cause inflammation of the blood vessels, blocking the blood supply to the brain, leading to a potential stroke.
New research has also shown that we are more likely to develop diabetes if we have gum disease.
Reducing the risk of cancer and dementia
By keeping our teeth and gums healthy we are more likely to reduce our risk of certain cancers, particularly in women, as well as some forms of dementia.