Caring for your teeth with brushing, flossing, and rinsing is essential for proper oral hygiene. Now you probably know that caring for your teeth is vital for a healthy smile, but it may surprise you to learn that oral cleanliness or lack thereof offers clues to your overall health. If you neglect your teeth, heart disease, diabetes, and other health problems may follow. Tooth decay can also affect your ability to hear.
The Bacteria Inside The Mouth
Large amounts of bacteria reside in our mouths. The good news is that the majority of this bacteria is harmless and with proper oral care can be kept under control. The bad news is that a buildup of dangerous bacteria in your mouth does not only inflict damage on your teeth and gums. The bacteria can enter your bloodstream, damage your blood vessels and arteries, and interrupt blood flow to your inner ear. Without a steady stream of blood, the delicate sound conducting hair cells begin to die off and your ability to hear diminishes. Without adequate hygiene, the bacteria can cause oral infections, gum disease, and tooth decay. Furthermore, neglect of one’s teeth and gums can also lead to certain health conditions.
Your hearing depends on hair cells (stereocilia) which translate electrical impulses and transmits them to the brain for interpretation via the auditory nerve. One primary way these hair cells can be damaged is by inflammation and narrowing of the blood vessels in the inner ear. This damage is irreversible, and the hearing loss is permanent. Some of this hearing loss is natural as we age, but poor dental health habits can accelerate the process. According to Harvard Medical School, the poor circulation which leads to the dental infections and periodontal disease can result in heart disease, heart attack, and stroke.
What You Can Do Today
On a positive note, there is plenty that you can do every day to protect your teeth and gums. Not much time is required, and it can make a huge difference for your oral and overall health. Start by visiting your dentist twice a year to have your teeth examined and professionally cleaned. Try to establish a routine of mouth care including the following:
- Try to brush your teeth at least twice a day for 2 minutes each time.
- Ensure that the toothbrush you are using is small enough to reach the far crevices of your mouth and around back surfaces of teeth.
- When you floss, use an 18-inch length of floss to keep a fresh section for every few teeth.
- Never share a toothbrush
- After brushing, rinse your brush and keep it uncovered to air dry.
- Change your brush every 3-4 months.
It is essential to approach your oral health considering the interrelation of all body systems and their impact on each other holistically. So when you clean your teeth and rinse your gums realize that the bacteria you are controlling can affect your ability to hear. Brush regularly, and your teeth and your ears will appreciate it.