We all that it’s important to take care of our teeth, don’t we? But maybe we don’t know just why it is important so let’s take a look…

Firstly, let’s recap what we mean by “good dental care”. The basics are:

  • Brush your teeth gently with a soft clean toothbrush and a fluoride toothpaste, for 2-3 minutes, 2-3 times a day.
  • Floss once a day.
  • Buy a new toothbrush 3-4 times a year.
  • See your dentist 1-2 times a year.
  • Avoid or minimise sugary foods.

Now, what are the benefits of good dental care:

  • Cleaner teeth and fresh breath. This is what motivates most us to clean our teeth. And so it should. Brown teeth and stinking breath is just not “a good look”. Enough said.
  • Reduced risk of dental decay. The risk of rotten teeth, gum disease, and even sinus infection and meningitis, is reduced through good dental hygiene.
  • Pneumonia risk. Pneumonia is a lung infection. The germs that cause it are usually inhaled from the air around us (we breathe them in) but we also know that germs in the mouth can be inhaled into the lungs, causing pneumonia. This is one of the reasons why dental care remains very important in hospital settings, but it is also important in general.
  • Heart disease. Endocarditis is a serious type of heart infection and the source of the germs is often the mouth. Research has also shown an association between good dental hygiene and reduced risk of heart attacks and other heart disease – this research is not conclusive and more work is needed, but there is at least a suggestion that what is good for your mouth may be good for your heart.

Taking care of your teeth and mouth is about more than having fresh breath. It has important health implications so please: brush those teeth!

Written by Dr Colin Burns