As the COVID-19 pandemic wears on, hygiene is at the forefront of everyone’s mind. You’re probably conscious of staying clean to avoid the virus. However, you might not realize how hygiene impacts oral health and overall wellbeing. With dentists closed across Canada, maintaining proper hygiene to keep your mouth clean is more vital than ever. Here are just some of the reasons why.
Bacteria Can Transfer Into Your Mouth
As you go about your day, your hands collect bacteria from the objects, people, and pets you touch. These bacteria can move from your hands into your mouth when you floss, brush your teeth, or eat with your fingers. Once the bacteria are in your mouth they can cause gum disease and infections.
It might surprise you to learn more than 10 million bacteria hide on most toothbrushes. That’s more than on the average toilet seat! If you don’t take care to clean your toothbrush, those bacteria end up in your mouth when you brush.
These bacteria can build up on your teeth, creating plaque and increasing your risk of cavities. They can also build up around your gums and cause gum disease.
Hygiene Kills Bacteria Before They Take Hold
Practicing proper hygiene is an effective way to keep harmful bacteria out of your mouth. Washing your hands thoroughly with soap and water is the best way to keep them clean and free from germs. If you don’t have access to soap and water, hand sanitizer is the next best choice. Wipe your hands with a napkin or towel before applying it, as sanitizers don’t remove dirt or oil.
Remember that germy toothbrush? Rinse it thoroughly with hot water before and after every use. Hot water kills bacteria more effectively than cold water does.
Food and beverages can also breed bacteria. Cleaning your teeth thoroughly at least twice a day removes most of them. Flossing eliminates bacteria hiding between your teeth and around your gum line.
Oral Health Impacts Overall Health
Nothing in your body occurs in a vacuum. Having poor oral health increases your chances of developing other health problems.
If left unchecked, bacteria in your mouth can cause infections that can spread throughout your body. Gum disease can create a path for bacteria to enter your bloodstream and cause heart disease. Bacteria can also travel from your mouth to your lungs and cause pneumonia. Plaque can enter your bloodstream and cause heart attacks or strokes. Poor oral health can also impair a diabetic’s ability to regulate their blood sugar and even impact the health of unborn babies. By improving your oral health you can increase your chances of staying well generally.
Many things are uncertain right now. However, taking charge of your hygiene and oral health is one way to regain some control. The smarter hygiene habits you adopt now can help your mouth stay healthy today and after the threat of COVID-19 fades.