Mothers probably drummed it into children's heads every morning, "Brush your teeth!" Flossing, mouthwash, and avoiding sugary drinks – yes, we've heard all of it. Really though, how important can it be to have good oral health? Sure, nobody wants their teeth to fall out, but is all of the fuss really necessary?

According to recent studies, oral health really is important to overall health. Diseases like stroke and heart disease have been linked to poor oral health and gum disease. Low birth weight and premature births can be linked to gum disease.

The mouth can hold clues for doctors about the overall health of a patient. Dry mouth and mouth ulcers can be tips for a doctor to check for diabetes, leukemia and oral cancer. Even heart disease can result from poor oral health. Bacteria can travel from the teeth to the heart muscle, damaging the heart permanently. This bacteria can even cause death if untreated.

Oral health is important for more than just overall health. Mouth health is also very important. Broken teeth, cavities and tooth loss can occur if teeth are not properly taken care of. Pain and gum disease like gingivitis can occur. Chewing can be painful or impossible if nerves are exposed. Not being able to chew food properly can result in dietary problems and digestion difficulties.

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Good oral health is also tied to mental health. When a person has dental problems, swollen gums, missing teeth and cavities, confidence can suffer. Self-esteem can be low and insecurities can sometimes occur. Social anxieties can often result. This is especially true in children where other children are often brutally honest. Brushing and flossing will also help to keep down the bacteria that cause bad breath – another social flaw.

While diligent care of teeth and gums cannot prevent every illness, it certainly plays a big part in overall health. Regular dental cleanings and yearly check-ups will also help people to prevent illness and disease. These check-ups can also detect deadly diseases, like oral cancers, early – when they are the most treatable.

So mom was right. Brush after every meal. Floss regularly. Schedule those routine cleanings and check-ups with local offices, and enjoy good health and a great smile for years to come.

Brooke Chaplan is a freelance writer and blogger. She lives and works out of her home in Los Lunas, New Mexico. She loves the outdoors and spends most her time hiking, biking, and gardening. For more information contact Brooke via Twitter @BrookeChaplan. Info provided by Williams Landing Dental Clinic.

Does Oral Health Really Matter? What You Need to Know. 1

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