Jan 4, 2011 7:09 PM by Lindsay Clein
We're all told to wash our hands so we don't get sick, but what isn't stressed enough is that we also need to wash our mouths.
"You cannot separate a healthy mouth from a healthy body," said Dentist Dr. Todd Kinney. "The two are inseparable."
Which is why it's especially important during the cold season to keep not only your hands clean, but also your mouth.
"People tend to get the cold by sticking their hands in their mouth, and biting their finger nails," said dental hygienist at Kline Dental Adriane Lake. "And the less bacteria in the mouth, the less likely you are to catch that cold."
"There are over 500 species of bacteria that live in the mouth," said dentist Dr. Amy Madden Kinney. "Eleven of them are pathogenic, meaning they can cause disease in the body if they're allowed in the bloodstream."
Brushing your teeth only takes a few minutes a day, and it keeps germs away.
"I think on average people should brush at least three times a day and floss once," Dr. Amy Madden Kinney said. "And use any oral mouth washes that don't contain a lot of alcohol as they feel is needed."
Dentist Dr. Todd Kinney says approximately 80% of people are affected by gum disease in their lifetime, and 75%, or one out of three people, don't even know it.
"Most patients don't have symptoms or complain of symptoms because it's not painful in the early stages," said Dentist Dr. Todd Kinney. "But it's really easy to diagnose and there are some really exciting new therapies to help combat gum disease in both the early and late stages."
During the cold season it's especially important to keep the immune system boosted, be active, and eat well. Also, keeping up on oral hygiene is extremely important to keep bacteria from getting into the mouth and gum tissues.
"The bacteria produces acid and the acid erodes the surface of the gums and causes them to bleed during brushing or flossing," said Dentist Dr. Amy Madden Kinney. "And if they're bleeding, bacteria can get into your body and that's when the immune system has to fight it."
"It's a 24/7 approach that needs to happen to keep the mouth and body healthy and live a lot longer," said Dr. Todd Kinney.
So we can all hope that at least three brushes and a couple flosses a day will keep the doctors away.