Your dental health is more important than you may believe. This article explains how the health of your teeth, mouth, and gums affects your overall health.
The Connection between Dental Health and General Health
Problems in your oral cavity can have wide-ranging implications on your overall health. Most of the (copious amounts of) bacteria in the mouth are harmless. However, your mouth is the access route to your respiratory and digestive tracts. Some of the bacteria can cause disease.
Our bodies’ natural defenses and preventive measures like flossing and brushing keep bacteria under control. When we do not practice proper oral hygiene, we face certain risks. If bacteria are left to overgrow, they cause gum disease and tooth decay.
Drugs like antihistamines (such as anti-allergy medication), decongestants, antidepressants, and painkillers can reduce saliva flow. Saliva plays an important part in protection by eliminating food and debris. It also neutralizes the acids bacteria produce.
Conditions Associated with Dental Health
Your dental health can contribute to various conditions and diseases. This section will give a brief overview of these.
Research indicates a link between oral health and cardiovascular disease. More specifically, stroke, heart disease, and clogged arteries may be linked to the infections and inflammation bacteria in the mouth cause.
Endocarditis is an infection of the valves’ inner lining. Usually, this happens when germs or bacteria migrate from the mouth to the bloodstream and infiltrate parts of the heart.
Gum disease has been linked to low birth weight and premature birth.
Diabetes compromises the immune system. It puts the gums at risk by reducing your body’s resistance to infection. Diabetics appear to suffer from increased incidences of gum disease, both in terms of frequency and severity. To improve control over diabetes, regular periodontal care is important. Studies have shown people who have gum disease are more prone to experience spikes in blood sugar.
The lungs pull in certain bacteria in the oral cavity, causing respiratory diseases such as pneumonia.
As Alzheimer’s progresses, oral health can worsen. Rheumatoid arthritis, eating disorders, and some types of cancer are also among the conditions believed to be connected to oral health.
Osteoporosis is a progressive condition that causes bone thinning. It has been linked to tooth loss and periodontal bone loss. A limited number of medications doctors use to treat osteoporosis can inflict damage on jawbones.
Oral Health Protection: Tips
To protect your dental health, good oral hygiene is of paramount importance. You will benefit from the following:
- Flossing every day
- Brushing your teeth at least twice a day
- Using fluoride toothpaste
- Using a soft-bristled brush
- To get rid of food particles left after flossing and brushing, use mouthwash
- Replacing your toothbrush once every two months or more often
- Not using tobacco products
- Eating a healthy diet without added sugar
- Scheduling dental cleanings and regular checkups
Oradent’s pleasant, friendly office staff will make your visits to our practice as painless and comfortable as possible. This starts with the very first one.
If you are anxious or afraid of dentist’s appointments, we will address and do everything we can to mitigate your concerns. Our dentists and staff are very good at explaining how dental procedures relate to your general health. Taking good care of oral health is an investment in general health. As soon as you experience a dental health problem, you should contact a dentist. For more information about the services we at Oradent Associates provide, please call us today. We look forward to hearing from you!