Our oral cavity is the gate way to our bodies. It is here that digestion is first initiated. Thorough mastication of our food into a bolus which created more surface area that can be more easily digested by our stomach allowing the nutrients to be absorbed more efficiently and thoroughly by our small intestine.
The mouth and its associated nervous system being so close to the brain allows us to taste and enjoy what we eat. If we are anxious and grind our teeth or if we are missing teeth, the room in our oral cavity is diminished. This can create pain on our jaw joint, headaches, and even contribute obstructive sleep apnea. If on the other hand there is an infection or malfunction, the discomfort and pain will be far more noticeable here than in another area of the body more distant from the brain.
Oral hygiene and maintenance of our gums and teeth is essential in our bodies overall immune health. If there is periodontal disease or a dead pulp (as in a decayed tooth that needs a root canal), this infection can easily spread to other areas of the head, neck, sinuses, and blood vessels and some cases causing a life threatening condition.
As a dentist who practiced over 35 years, I’ve always taken it upon myself to emphasize the importance of utilizing an electric toothbrush to brush my teeth, at least twice a day, and to rinse with a mouth wash thereafter. This maintenance should begin and be maintained from an early age, and in the long run your mouth will be healthier, you’ll feel better about your smile, and you’ll be able to chew and enjoy your food better. Even those of us with good teeth and gums need to see the dentist at least twice a year for an examination and a cleaning. The cleaning is necessary because even if you are brushing on a daily basis twice a day, microscopic bacteria works itself down below the gum line in between the root of the tooth and the bone socket and will eat away at both the bone and the periodontal ligament which connects the tooth to the bone. This is periodontal disease and this is how most people lose their teeth. If during the examination, you have any broken teeth or cavities that are diagnosed during the clinical exam or by way of x-rays, those cavities are best taken care of ASAP. Before the bacteria that caused them works its way into the pulp of the tooth and necessitating a root canal. Preventative maintenance at home and seeing your dentist on a regular basis has no substitute.
Take care of your teeth and gums, and they will take care of you.