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We all know the tips to living a healthier life – ditch soda, pizza, and cake, and eat more broccoli, lettuce, and lean meats. Oh, and you have to exercise too.

But for all of our obsessions over healthy lifestyles, it’s easy to overlook the biggest indicator of systemic health – your oral health.

Why does it matter?

Your mouth is home to a ton of bacteria. Some of it’s good and some of it’s bad. But if you let it go unchecked, the bacteria in your mouth can cause some pretty serious oral health problems. Gum disease is one of the worst, as is results in tooth loss and deterioration of the jaw bone. If the bacteria that cause those issues make it through your bloodstream to other areas of your body, you’ll see some immediate – and nasty – effects.

How do I have a healthier mouth?

Having a healthier mouth is a combination of eating right and employing a rigorous oral health routine. Healthy foods that are low in acid and sugar levels actually boost the health of your gums and teeth, while a good routine of brushing, flossing, and mouthwash use removes the bad bacteria from your mouth, leaving behind only the healthy kind.

While it may seem insignificant at first, your oral health is directly linked to your systemic health. If you want to be as health as possible, then you should heed the above advice.