Everyone wants a clean mouth. This October, AFSPA encourages you to celebrate Dental Hygiene Month by checking in on your dental hygiene.
Why is dental hygiene so important?
Many people don’t realize that dental hygiene is connected to your overall health. If you don’t maintain good dental hygiene, not only will your mouth not be clean, but you’ll also be at a greater risk of developing tooth decay and gum disease. According to the Mayo Clinic, this may contribute to various diseases and conditions, including:
- Endocarditis. This infection of the inner lining of your heart chambers or valves (endocardium) typically occurs when bacteria or other germs from another part of your body, such as your mouth, spread through your bloodstream and attach to certain areas in your heart.
- Cardiovascular disease. Although the connection is not fully understood, some research suggests that heart disease, clogged arteries, and stroke might be linked to the inflammation and infections that oral bacteria can cause.
- Pregnancy and birth complications. Periodontitis has been linked to premature birth and low birth weight.
- Pneumonia. Certain bacteria in your mouth can be pulled into your lungs, causing pneumonia and other respiratory diseases.
So, how can you protect your dental hygiene? By practicing good oral hygiene daily.
- Brush your teeth at least twice a day with a soft-bristled brush and fluoride toothpaste.
- Replace your toothbrush every 3-4 months, or sooner if the bristles are frayed. A worn toothbrush won’t properly clean your teeth.
- Floss daily.
- Use mouthwash to remove food particles left after brushing and flossing.
- Eat a healthy diet and limit food with added sugars.
- Schedule regular dental checkups and cleanings.
- Avoid tobacco use.
How do you properly brush your teeth?
Check out this video from the American Dental Association on how to brush your teeth. You should brush for two minutes, twice a day.
How AFSPA Can Help
AFSPA encourages you to visit the dentist to help stay on top of your dental hygiene. AFSPA offers four dental plans. Coverage options are available for Self, Self Plus One, and Family. As an AFSPA member, you can enroll in any of these plans at any time – no need to wait for an open enrollment season. Once your enrollment is in effect, there is no waiting period before you can see a general or family dentist. For details on these plans click here.