Taking care of your teeth is important, but it’s just a cosmetic issue, right? Although many people have been lectured over and over on the importance of brushing and flossing, the only outcome they care about is shiny white teeth.

Although white teeth and good breath are important, there are even more important things about good oral hygiene.

The truth is that your oral health has more impact on your overall health than you might think. Problems with your mouth can indicate that there is something wrong with your body, and, even more significantly, can actually affect your health.

Problems Build Up

In recent years, doctors have taken a more holistic approach to issues such as gum disease. Gum disease has been linked to the worsening of diabetes and heart disease. Gum disease can even have unexpected consequences like raising the rates of premature births in pregnant women.

Although the link between these issues has not been fully explored yet, studies suggest that the swelling in the jaw that results from gum disease (or its more advanced version, periodontitis) could cause inflammation in the blood vessels.

This raises blood pressure, increasing the risk for a heart attack. Additionally, the infection in your mouth could spread further throughout your body. In the worst case, this infection could enter your bloodstream, eventually causing an infection in the heart known as endocarditis.

Money Where Your Mouth Is

Taking care of your teeth now will save you time, money, and pain in the future. Although many people do not like to go to the dentist, taking the time to have your teeth cleaned and any cavities or other issues fixed quickly will help you to avoid lengthy, costly operations in the future.

If you have a sudden pain in your mouth, whether you realize you have chipped a tooth or lost a crown, schedule an emergency appointment with a dentist. A small issue now could represent a much more serious problem further down the road.

Simple Prevention

A little bit of prevention goes a long way. Avoiding these issues isn’t that hard – brushing and flossing each day goes a long way to reducing the plaque and bacteria that cause cavities and, eventually, lead to gingivitis.

Be sure to schedule regular appointments with your dentist – they are professionals and can give you better insight into the best way to take care of your mouth, as well as alerting you to any health problems before they become serious.

Going to your yearly dentist appointment could do more than just fill in a painful cavity. If you have diabetes or heart disease, a simple operation under local anesthesia could save your health.