IS THERE A CONNECTION BETWEEN ORAL AND MENTAL HEALTH

Mental health is linked to oral health, and vice versa. Good oral health can enhance mental and overall health, while poor oral health can exacerbate mental issues. Likewise, mental conditions can cause oral health issues. The connection between them is direct, cyclical and, when oral health is neglected, detrimental.

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DIABETES AND YOUR TEETH

Diabetes may cause serious problems with keeping your mouth healthy and having an attractive smile. The disease causes difficulties in the mouth, and problems in the mouth may cause trouble with diabetes. With diabetes, glucose is present in the saliva. When diabetes is not controlled, increased glucose in the saliva allows harmful bacteria to grow.   Periodontal disease, also known as gum disease, is the most widespread chronic inflammatory condition worldwide, says Dr. Wayne Aldredge.

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SMART APPS FOR DENTAL HEALTH CARE

Oral health is often taken for granted. The mouth is a window into the health of the entire body. It can show signs of nutritional deficiencies or general infection. Systemic diseases – those that affect the entire body – may first become apparent because of mouth lesions or other oral problems.   Regardless of age, oral health is very important. Positive oral health leads to improved overall health. More Americans today are keeping their natural teeth throughout their lives.

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spend brushing. Whether you choose an electric or manual toothbrush, dental experts recommend you try not to brush too excessively or too hard. This can abrade enamel. Anything that boosts the beauty of your smile is worth looking into.

In the quest for good dental hygiene, you may find yourself trying to decide between using a manual or an electric toothbrush.


“A hygienist would say everybody should have an electric toothbrush,” said Dr. Patricia Takacs with Beaumont Family Dentistry. “You can’t push it too hard; it does what we can do with our drills; it polishes like we can polish; it can get below the gum line. But I still use manual toothbrushes.”


The American Dental Association (ADA) says manual toothbrushes can be just as effective as powered ones. According to Consumer Reports, a recent study showed electric toothbrushes reduced dental plaque 21 percent more and gingivitis or inflammation of the gums 11 percent more than a manual toothbrush after three months of use. What makes the difference is the brusher. Proper brushing technique is important whether you plug your toothbrush in or use your own power.


Toothbrushes have come a long way from the days when people used twigs stripped of their bark to clean their teeth. The earliest bristle toothbrushes were created in China in the 7th century. The first U.S. patent for a toothbrush was granted to H.N. Wadsworth in 1857. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration classifies toothbrushes as medical devices, but they are generally considered to pose little harm to anyone and are subject to the least amount of regulatory control.   

BRUSH UP ON THE ELECTRIC VS. MANUAL DEBATE

An electric toothbrush can do almost 30,000 strokes per minute, compared to the manual average of 300 to 600 strokes per minute. There are several different types of electric toothbrushes. One type has a rotary brush that moves in a circular motion at 3,000 to 7,500 strokes per minute. Some toothbrush heads move in alternate directions; this is called rotation oscillation. Sonic toothbrushes use a side-to-side motion at about 31,000 brush strokes per minute. An ultrasonic electronic toothbrush has side-to-side motions that create vibrations that dislodge plaque. None of these are more highly touted over the other, so the choice about whether to go manual or electric is strictly up to you. One disadvantage is the cost. A top-quality electric toothbrush can cost up to $100 or more. As with regular toothbrushes, electric toothbrush heads have to be replaced every few months.


If you have trouble physically moving your toothbrush around your mouth – perhaps because you have a touch of arthritis – an electric toothbrush can be a great asset. Children may enjoy using an electric toothbrush that features their favorite cartoon character. Also, an electric device with a timer can help them brush for the recommended two-plus minutes, which isn’t a bad idea for adults, either, since many people underestimate how much time they actually

TANYA TYLER

Tanya Tyler is the Editor of Health & Wellness Magazine

more articles by Tanya Tyler