A healthy lifestyle can help lower the risk of heart disease, help the body maintain a strong immune system, and can lead to fewer health problems. Living healthy includes making better food and beverage choices, regular exercise, and getting enough sleep. Good oral hygiene is also part of a healthy lifestyle.

Plaque is a sticky film of bacteria that constantly forms on teeth. It forms when bacteria in your mouth mixes with sugary or starchy foods, such as milk, juice, soft drinks, bread, pasta, and fruit. Plaque buildup can increase the risk of dental disease such as cavities, tooth loss, and gum disease.

Dental disease from poor oral hygiene can also affect your overall health. Studies have found that periodontitis (the severe form of gum disease) is linked with health problems, such as cardiovascular disease, stroke, and bacterial pneumonia. Bacteria from periodontitis can enter the bloodstream, which may affect other parts of your body, such as the heart (ADA).

October is National Dental Hygiene Month!

Make daily dental care part of your wellness routine. Having a healthy smile may also keep the rest of your body healthy. Manage and control the plaque in your mouth with a good dental hygiene routine. Protect your oral health and your whole health by following these dental care tips:

  • Brush your teeth thoroughly twice a day. Brush for two minutes, with a fluoride toothpaste. Try brushing your tongue after you brush your teeth. This helps reduce bacteria that collects on your tongue.
  • Floss between your teeth at least once a day. This really helps prevent plaque from building-up between your teeth and the gum line, a major cause of dental disease.
  • Add mouthwash to your dental hygiene routine. Mouthwash helps reduce plaque buildup, prevents gingivitis (the earliest form of gum disease), and helps freshen your breath.
  • See your dentist regularly. Regular dental cleanings remove plaque to protect your teeth and help treat any dental problems that can affect your oral and overall health. This is also a good time to ask the dentist for dental hygiene advice.
  • Eat a balanced diet and limit sugary snacks. Good eating habits can help you maintain strong teeth, healthy gums, and overall health. Choose nutritious foods and limit foods high in sugar, salt, and saturated fat. Also limit the number of times you snack to help reduce plaque buildup.
  • Drink water in place of sweetened beverages. Water helps cleans your mouth with every sip. It washes away leftover food and sugar. It also helps keep you hydrated when exercising.
  • Avoid tobacco and drugs. Tobacco use and drugs not only harm your body, but can increase the risk of tooth erosion, gum disease, mouth, and throat cancer. More specifically, people who smoke are 3 times more likely to lose their teeth (CDC).

Click on the links below for more tips to help you and your family maintain good dental hygiene and good overall health.

Smile Habits OC. Oral health information for the whole family. Resources for good dental hygiene, where to find dental care, and more. The website can be viewed in Spanish and in other languages.

CalFresh Healthy Living. Resources to support healthy, active, and nourished lifestyles. Learn about physical activity, good nutrition, and how to stretch your food dollars.

Pregnancy and Good Dental Hygiene. Tips for taking care of your oral health during pregnancy. Good dental hygiene is essential and part of prenatal care.

Oral Health Tips for Caregivers. Tips, fact sheets, and more to help older adults and people with special care needs with their daily dental hygiene from the National Institute of Health.



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