Did you ever think while standing in front of the mirror, scrubbing away at your teeth, that you’d be contributing your auditory health, too? It’s true. Proper tooth and gum care have a direct contribution to the health of the rest of your body, including your ears and auditory processing system.
Healthy hearing can be maintained in a number of ways, each of which are equally important. It’s not just your outer ear you need to protect, but all parts of the ear and auditory mechanisms that need to be preserved.
Protect Your Hearing
Protecting the outer ear by wearing protective devices such as earplugs or noise protection ear muffs in loud environments can block damaging noise from entering the ear. Middle ear health can be maintained by ensuring proper drainage is occurring and that ear infections in kids are addressed quickly. Inner ear protection is achieved by maintaining the health of the stereocilia (tiny microscopic hairs) in the cochlea that receive and convert audio signals from incoming sound waves.
The Connection To Oral Health
These stereocilia can be damaged or killed by improper blood circulation. Once they are damaged, stereocilia cannot be repaired or replaced. That’s where oral health comes in. Our mouths are one of the first lines of defense against harmful bacteria entering our bodies.
Improper dental care or a lack thereof means bacteria is allowed to flourish, threatening to enter the bloodstream. Once bacteria reach the bloodstream, it can directly inflame and constrict arteries and blood vessels, including those that supply blood to the stereocilia in the inner ear. Poor circulatory health means potentially poor inner ear health, the consequences of which may be irreversible.
What You Can Do
Follow these important steps to ensure you’re doing all you can do to keep your mouth, and ears healthy:
- Brush at least twice a day (three times is best) with a bacteria-fighting toothpaste.
- Each time you brush make sure you’re making contact with all of your teeth, even the hard to reach ones.
- Brush for at least two minutes every time you brush.
- Use an appropriately sized toothbrush for your mouth.
- Do not press too hard or use a brush that is too hard for your mouth, needlessly eroding your gums away from the root line of your teeth.
- Visit your dentist for regular checkups and cleanings, preferably twice a year. Make sure to address any areas of concern with your dentist.
- Floss all of your teeth, making sure to access all the hard to reach places.
- Keep your toothbrush clean and dry, and change it out regularly.
- Don’t share your toothbrush. Doing so may lead to a needless exchange of harmful bacteria.
This connection between oral and auditory health underlines the importance of maintaining all aspects of our health, even something as simple as oral care. Ensuring you have done all you can to protect your hearing will reduce the risk of irreversible cochlear damage in the future. If you have any questions about the connection between oral care and hearing health, please give us a call.