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A Healthy Mouth: A New Year's Resolution to Smile About

It’s now 2014, and many of us already have implemented our New Year’s resolutions. Most have probably chosen one of the oldies but goodies such as saving more money, losing weight and living a healthier lifestyle. If you’re still on the fence about a good resolution to choose, why not resolve to improve your dental health?

The saying “a healthy mouth, healthy you” is really true. It has been proven that good oral hygiene can improve your overall health. It also can reduce the risk of disease. A healthy resolution doesn’t have to include long hours of maintenance; you can achieve health with a few simple steps which will not only leave your mouth in a better condition but your overall body as well.

Reduces Heart Disease Risk

Inflammation from gum disease has been shown to contribute to the development of cardiovascular problems such as heart disease, blockages of blood vessels, and strokes. Although researchers don’t always like to say there is a cause-andeffect between gum disease and these other serious health problems, the link keeps appearing in numerous studies.

Helps Preserve Your Memory

According to a report in the Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery & Psychiatry, adults with gingivitis (swollen, bleeding gums) performed worse on memory and other cognitive skills tests than those with healthier gums.

Reduces Risks of Infection and Inflammation in Your Body

Poor oral healthcare has been associated with the occurrence of infection in other parts of the body. An article titled “The Mouth-Body Connection” featured on states, “Research has found an association between gum disease and rheumatoid arthritis, an autoimmune disease that causes inflammation of the joints. Experts say the mechanism of the destruction of connective tissues in both gum disease and RA is similar.”

Can Help Stabilize Blood Sugar in Diabetics

Many diabetics often have gum disease. Having diabetes can inhibit your ability to fight off infection, including gum infections that can lead to serious periodontal disease. And some researchers have found that if you have diabetes, you are more likely to develop more severe gum problems. That may make it more difficult to control blood sugar levels. So by reducing your risk of gingivitis and keeping your mouth healthy, it may help control your blood sugar.

Boost Your Self-esteem

Your smile has been said to be the second characteristic, after your eyes, that someone notices about your appearance. So when someone is met with an unsightly mouth and/or bad breath what will be the impression left with them? A healthy smile can boost your confidence, self-image and self-esteem.

With a healthy mouth that's free of cavities and gum disease, your quality of life is also bound to be better—you can eat properly, sleep better and concentrate with no aching teeth or infections to divert you. Therefore, you can present a more confident, healthier you to the world.

Where to Begin

Good, healthy habits are can be learned at an early age and will pay off as an adult. Keep these suggestions in mind.

• Brushing a minimum of two times per day for two minutes and flossing once daily. Remember “only floss the ones you want to keep.”

• Visit your dentist for regular checkups. The standard is two times per year, but more visits may be needed depending on your gum health.

• Eat a balanced diet. Healthy foods equal a healthy mouth. Cut down on processed foods and added sugars.

For this new year, make a resolution to treat your mouth right by improving your diet and your oral hygiene habits. Your mouth and your body will thank you for it.