The purpose of taking good care of the teeth is not just about having great smiles. Taking care of those pearly whites can also contribute to a person’s overall health condition. Yes, your mouth’s condition can offer clues to your overall health. Problems in the oral cavity can bring negative effects to the rest of the body or the condition of an individual’s mouth mirrors general health.
Research from the Academy of General Dentistry show how gum diseases are directly proportional to experiencing health complications such as heart diseases. Furthermore, in obstetrics, women with periodontal (gum) disease are more likely to experience pre-term or have low birth-weight neonates. About 90% of diseases involving many organs of the body have problems in their oral health like swollen gums, ulcerations in mouth and other gum problems. These diseases include diabetes, oral cancer, heart disease, pregnancy-related problems and kidney diseases. Regular dental examinations help in diagnosing a health problem in its early state.
The Connection of Oral Health to General Health
The mouth is packed with bacteria – mostly the harmless kind and is placed there mainly for protection. With good oral health habits such as brushing of teeth daily and flossing partnered with the body’s natural defenses, the harmful bacteria’s multiplication is controlled. But without practicing regular dental habits, these bacteria can multiply to the point where it can lead to infections of the cavity such as tooth decay and periodontal disease.
Saliva plays an important role in neutralizing the acidic chemicals produced by the mouth’s bacteria. This, in return, protects a person from overgrowth of bacteria leading to disease. However, saliva flow can be reduced if a person is taking certain medication such as decongestants, antihistamines, pain relievers and diuretics.
Medical Conditions Linked to Oral Health
People diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes have higher risk of developing gum disease too. This is brought about the lowered resistance of the body to infection with the presence of certain medical conditions, hence aggravating oral problems. According to research, people with oral health problems have harder time lowering their blood sugar levels.
Another medical condition linked to oral health is endocarditis. By definition endocarditis is the inflammation and infection of the endocardium, otherwise known as the inner heart linings. This condition is brought about by the presence of bacteria from other body parts, for example is the mouth. When infection is present in the oral cavity, it can be transported to to the inner linings of the heart via bloodstream leading to serious heart problem.
Tips for a Healthy Mouth
The only way to keep your mouth healthy is by a practicing good oral hygiene habits on a daily basis such:
- Brushing teeth at least two times daily.
- Flossing after brushing the teeth.
- Following a balanced diet regimen and limiting intake of sweets and in-between snacks
- Replacement of toothbrush once every three months.
- Adhering to scheduled regular visits to your dentist
When oral health problems arise, it is important to visit your dentist immediately to prevent complications. There are some concerns on the cost of dental health care nowadays. However, taking care of your teeth is not merely done for aesthetic purposes but it is an investment for a better general health.