Your mouth matters

It's what you eat and speak with, how you convey your mood and how you deliver affection. You brush and floss, gargle and swish to keep things in order. Your mouth may seem like a self-contained part of your body that plays no larger role in your health.

But that's just not the case.

What goes on in your mouth is often a barometer for what is going on in the rest of your body. Many consider the mouth a window to a person's overall health. When you oral health is poor, it can negatively affect your body in many ways: gum disease and tooth loss have been linked to heart disease, diabetes, osteoporosis and Alzheimer's. Poor oral health also can adversely affect pregnancy.

Brush up on oral health. Follow these basic guidelines to help keep your mouth — and your overall health — smile-worthy:

  • Schedule — and keep — regular dental check-ups every six months.
  • Brush your teeth at least twice a day.
  • Make sure to replace your toothbrush every three to four months.
  • Floss daily.
  • Choose healthier foods, and limit snacking in between meals.
  • Be reasonable with your sugar intake.
When you show your mouth some love, you show your whole body some love, too.

Brush up on oral health.