Black man and child in front of a mirror. Child is brushing their teeth while the man smiles encouragingly
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Why is dental hygiene so important?

October 13, 2021
3 minutes
Personal Health
Personal health journeys

Every October, National Dental Hygiene Month aims to raise awareness about the importance of regular dental care and good dental hygiene. 

Why is dental hygiene so important? 

Because oral health can have a big impact on our overall health. 

For example, did you know that poor oral health (like gum disease and tooth loss) are associated with higher rates of heart disease? 

Or that signs of some major health conditions can be seen in our teeth, gums, and mouth?

According to the Mayo Clinic, the following conditions can be linked to or affected by oral health: 

  • Endocarditis
  • Cardiovascular Disease
  • Complications with birth or pregnancy
  • Pneumonia
  • Diabetes
  • Osteoporosis
  • Alzheimer’s Disease

And since there is no greater expert on the subject than a dentist, we decided to reach out to one of our Achievement members (who also happens to be a dentist!) for more information. 

Responses from a Dentist and Achievement Member 

What is the number one most important thing we can do for our dental hygiene?

“Keep your mouth clean and get regular dental checkups. Brushing and flossing are super important, but so are regular dental exams. Regular exams are crucial for finding issues like cavities and gum disease and some major health conditions while in an early stage.” 

Why is good dental hygiene important (besides for pretty teeth!)?

“Because your mouth is part of your body and it needs to be kept in good condition so your overall health is good.” 

How does good dental hygiene affect my overall health?

“For instance, 
  • There is a connection between cardiovascular disease and periodontal disease.
  • Diabetes can be complicated by mouth sores or infections. 
  • In children, if oral hygiene and nutrition are not good, it can affect growth of permanent teeth and can have an impact on speech.
  • Oral health is more than just cosmetics. It can have financial implications, too. Individuals with broken or missing teeth often have difficulty finding work or face social stigmas.
  • Problems with your teeth, gum, or mouth can cause headaches, sore teeth, etc.” 

Is flossing really important?

“Yes! It removes material that a brush can’t get to!” 

What is one thing you wish more people knew about oral health?

“That if you take care of your teeth, and handle any issues that do come up when they're small, you can save a lot of money and pain. And have a better experience at the dentist.” 

What else do you think we should know about oral health?

“I wish pediatricians and other providers would teach new mothers about the importance of oral health in their children” 

What is the best part about being a dentist?

“I like to help people feel better! There are a lot of fun challenges in dentistry, sophisticated procedures like implants and such. But, for me, helping someone with smaller, routine things like fillings can be just as rewarding.” 

Dena S. Babin, DDS

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