How often do you have headaches? If the answer to that question is “too often” then you may need to see your dentist regularly. Sounds strange, but the American Gut Project has found a link between oral bacteria and headaches, specifically migraines. Therefore, Dr. Ayer advocates biannual dental cleanings and exams not only for the sake of your smile, but also for you overall well being. Continue reading to learn about the research on this link and how your dentist in Leawood may be able to help prevent migraine headaches.
Finding the Connection between Oral Bacteria and Headaches
The American Gut Project’s study discovered that increased numbers of certain oral and intestinal bacteria can foods with nitrates to produce nitric acids. These acids can cause headaches. You may think the solution would be to eliminate these foods from your diet, but frankly there are just too many. Instead, Dr. Ayer and his team of dental hygienists can provide a thorough dental cleaning in Leawood in order to reduce the levels of these bacteria.
Nitrite and Migraine Headaches
Researchers at the University of San Diego School of Medicine found that people who have regular migraine headaches have something in common—they seem to generally have a higher number of nitrate-reducing bacteria in their mouth. Therefore, if you combine foods high in nitrates with a poor oral hygiene routine at home, then you may be creating an atmosphere that is prime for headaches. Why? Because these bacteria convert nitrates in food to nitrite. One of the side effects of nitrite is dilation of blood vessels in the body. When this happens, there is increased blood flow and, therefore, migraines are more likely to develop because of vascular instability. Therefore, failing to brush and floss daily, as well as the absence of professional dental cleanings, may be the real reason for migraines.
How Should You Brush and Floss?
We realize that you’ve probably been brushing and flossing your teeth for years, but that doesn’t mean you’re doing an effective job. Follow these tips from Dr. Ayer to improve your daily oral hygiene routine:
- Use a toothbrush with soft bristles; hard bristles are more apt to scratch the enamel surface of teeth
- Choose fluoride toothpaste to help strengthen enamel
- Spend at least two minutes brushing your teeth twice a day
- Hold your toothbrush at a 45-degree angle against your teeth so you can also clean your gums
You also need to floss your teeth at least once a day. Flossing helps to remove plaque along the gum line. Plaque hide bacteria, so removing this sticky film must be part of your daily oral hygiene in order to reduce the risk of gum disease and possibly headaches, too.
Contact Our Office Today
Knowing that a dental cleaning can help you avoid migraine headaches, Dr. Ayer suggests making sure you schedule yours regularly. Call our office and one of our staff will be glad to find a convenient time for you.