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Ok, I admit that oral health and good dental hygiene are not the most interesting of topics,

and for many of you such subjects probably conjure up unwelcome memories of visits to the dentist, periods of toothache, and other less than pleasant experiences with your teeth and mouth!

However, it is no surprise that many of those chronic, difficult to treat health conditions that are increasingly occurring are now being associated with the health, or otherwise, of our mouths.

Our mouths, and the teeth within them, are open to the big wide world out there and everything, good and bad, it contains.

Anything that enters our mouth has, potentially, direct access to the rest of our bodies.  As such the oral cavity must act as a first line of defence, capturing and dealing with anything less than desirable that it may come into contact with before it can get any further.

And it’s not just what we take on board from our environment that can cause a problem.  ‘Homegrown’ bacteria, bugs and infections can also easily spread to the rest of our body from our mouth.

Consequently making sure that these defences are in the best shape possible is an important aspect of overall good health.

So how best to do this?

Well again, nothing particularly new and exciting here – this will all be stuff you are very familiar with (and possibly don’t necessarily want to be reminded of!), but well worth mentioning again!

  • Make sure you are practising good oral hygiene.  Brush your teeth regularly, and, where appropriate, use additional aids such as floss and mouthwash.  Try to use natural based dental products. Many popular branded items contain chemicals, fluoride and even sugar (yes, you did read that right – sugar!) which will only serve to solve one problem but create potentially many others.
  • Keep your teeth in good order – visit the dentist regularly for check ups and seek assistance for any problems as soon as possible. Untreated cavities, gum disease, and other problems allow unwanted and harmful bacteria and infection to build up placing a burden on your immune system and allowing that ‘leakage’ to the rest of the body.
  • Deal with any ongoing health issues that are affecting your mouth such as reoccurring ulcers, for example. Not only are these too deleting your immune response and affecting the rest of your system but could also be an indication of a more problematic underlying health issue.

Now I know many of you will have questions about the advice I’ve just given

Should you have mercury based fillings, the possible ongoing problems with root fillings, use of various approaches and products in the NHS, for instance? There are certainly many arguments to be had on all sides about these considerations, and without wishing to sound like I’m sitting on the fence, the decision as to what is the best approach can only really be made at a personal level and on a case by case basis.  The key aspect is to ensure good oral health so whilst we would all like to avoid those things that may not be ideal, sometimes this is the best solution given the circumstances, and may be preferable to doing nothing at all.

So what can I suggest?

Choose the best treatment offering you can afford, find a dentist and oral health professional within that offering that you like and trust, discuss the options available including the advantages and disadvantages then make an informed decision.  And remember, if your dentist won’t discuss your treatment with you, including answering your questions satisfactorily, then it’s time to find someone new!

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