Total Body Health Through Your Mouth
Living in a toxic world does not mean that we have to be toxic. We are the pilots of our existence. As a dentist I am the co-pilot of others’ existence and as such, I can guide them toward healthier choices. As a dentist, it has become my passion to help others realize their potential for optimal health. Dis-ease of the body is the tipping point of toxicity that presents in both the physical and mental (stay tuned for a future blog on the mental aspect). So where does dentistry fit in with total body health? Let me explain.
The biological mechanism linking periodontitis (gum disease) to systemic inflammation is not to be debated. The link between oral health and heart health has been, and will continue to be documented by medical and dental professionals. But inflammation and infection in the mouth and its effect on the entire body is generally not discussed. In other words, an infection in your mouth is affecting more than just your heart health! It literally impacts everything about you. When your teeth and tissue in your mouth are unhealthy there is major impact to overall health.
How do I know if I have an infection or inflammation?
I wish I had a dollar for every time I said this to a patient: “Healthy tissue does not bleed”.
If you went to floss your teeth right now:
Would you see blood on your floss?
Would your floss smell bad?
Would your tissue hurt after flossing?
Your gum tissue is infected if it bleeds, and blood is the messenger. So why would infection anywhere else in your body be a cause for concern, but an infection in your mouth is not? It does not make sense! If you desire total body health then you need to address infection in your mouth too. Our Dental hygienists at Incredible Smiles take cleanings and indicators of infection very seriously. Our staff at Incredible Smiles will offer you tools to improve your health through your regular oral care routine.
Are you avoiding the dentist because you are afraid of what you might find?
An infection in and around your tooth may not be symptomatic. Make sure you see a dentist on a regular basis, and don’t skip the x-rays. Yes, x-rays pick up infections that you are sometimes not aware of. We can show you where in your mouth they are, and recommend treatment. Just because you cannot feel an infection does not mean that your body is not feeling the impact. Avoiding the dentist because you are scared of what you might find out? We hear this all the time. Do you want to save your teeth or lose them? Would you want to learn about an illness in the later stages, or earliest possible stage? Are you ignoring that sensitivity to cold, hot or throbbing? Please, go see a dentist ASAP.
Try this trick: lick your hand. Now smell it. I’m serious! Smell your hand! If you think that is gross and you don’t want to do it you are ignoring your potential for total body health. If it smells stinky, go brush, floss and use a water pik, NOW.
Highly underutilized, brushing at least twice a day, for two minutes each session – is the norm. The average brushing time is less than 30 seconds. Take your time with your manual tooth brush, time it with the second hand on your watch, or on your phone. Better yet, get an electric toothbrush with a built-in timer. It should beep at you every 30 seconds to tell you to move to the next quadrant. (You have four of those, by the way.)
I have a highly educated group of patients at Incredible Smiles, and yet I commonly hear, “I should floss more”. Also, use a woven floss! Glide is the worst, and in my thirty years of experience as a dentist, I have found that Dr. Tung’s Woven Floss is among the best. When flossing between the teeth always think of flossing two teeth. Wrap the floss like a “C” around each tooth and scrape up and down. Next, advance your floss to a new clean section and wrap again around another tooth. The results are in the details!
The brand, Water Pik is the best water flosser. Just purchase this brand and you are all set. Put warm water in the well, set the dial to 4, no higher (10 is not better), use the pik on the display on the outside of the box, aim the water across, not into the tissue and GO SLOW. Count to 7 as you let the water pump across your tissue to remove all the tiny food particles and plaque that you missed when you brushed and flossed.
Do you know your numbers?
When you see a hygienist your numbers should be charted at every cleaning. Your hygienist should inform you of their meaning. We tell our patients that 1, 2, 3 mm (measurement into the tissue) is like getting an A on a report card. 4mm is like a B, 5mm is a C, and 6mm is essentially a D. People are never aware of what their numbera are unless they are evaluated on a regular basis. Numbers can change for the better or worse. Do you know your numbers? Are they improving?
Let’s see how you score on optimal oral health. Score 1 point for a yes.
- Do you brush two times per day?
- Do you brush for 2 minutes each time?
- Do you floss daily with a woven floss?
- Do you use good floss technique (as described above)?
- Do you use a water pik to clean your teeth daily?
- Do you spend extra time before bed doing your cleaning?
- Does your hand smell normal after licking your hand?
- Do you get your teeth cleaned on a regular basis?
- Does your hygienists chart your numbers at each cleaning?
- Do you have your next cleaning scheduled?
What’s Your Score?
If your score is a 10, you likely have optimal tissue health.
If your score is between 7 and 10, you are likely scheduling regular visits to the dentist and getting your teeth cleaned. But do you know your numbers? And are you using the techniques mentioned above, including a water pik?
If you are at 6 or lower, you need to begin an oral care routine and have regular check-ups with a dentist.
Yes, our healthiest patients brush at least twice a day, AND floss AND use a water pik prior to going to bed. It’s a choice we must all make daily to fight inflammation with good oral hygiene. Is your dentist talking with you about improving your overall health by offering solutions within dentistry? If not, we are here to help. Take another step toward total body health by booking a complimentary consultation at Incredible Smiles today. Call us at 303-499-0013.