The link between oral health and its impact on our overall health have been proved by numerous studies over the years. According to the WHO, ‘Most oral diseases and conditions share modifiable risk factors with the leading noncommunicable diseases (cardiovascular diseases, cancer, chronic respiratory diseases and diabetes)’. Many studies have proved that dental health overall health affects are connected, making good oral health more important than previously believed.
Gum disease and Cardiovascular health
Though the connection is not fully understood as yet, there is research to suggest that cardiovascular disease, clogged arteries and stroke might be linked with infections caused by oral bacteria. The basic premise is that the bacteria that infects gums and causes gum disease, also travel to blood vessels throughout the body where they cause blood vessel inflammation and damage, which can lead to tiny blood clots, strokes or heart attacks.
Diabetes and gum disease are also interconnected because the high blood sugar levels from diabetes causes the saliva around your teeth and under your gums to have more sugar in it. The increased sugar promotes harmful germs and plaque to grow. This leads to tooth decay, gum disease and tooth loss. Infections from untreated periodontal diseases can cause blood sugar to rise and make it harder to control diabetes.
This is a rare, life-threatening inflammation of the lining of the heart muscle and its vales, caused by a bacterial infection. While it can occur in anyone, people with heart disease are more likely to get this. If you have poor oral health and excess bacteria in the mouth it can spread through your bloodstream and attach to certain areas of your heart. If you are a patient at risk for endocarditis then it is important that you practice good oral hygiene. Brush your teeth twice a day and floss at least once a day. Use antiseptic mouthwash and be sure to be in contact with your dentist for regular check ups to avoid the possibility of developing periodontal disease.
What’s the connection between oral health and overall health?
Today there are studies that make the connection between oral health problems and general health problems because your mouth too is teeming with bacteria, usually mostly harmless bacteria. Being the entry point to your digestive and respiratory tracks, some oral bacterial can cause disease. If proper oral hygiene is not maintained bacteria can reach high levels leading to oral diseases that can then spread and cause health complications throughout the rest of your body.
Certain oral bacteria can be pulled into your lungs causing aspiration pneumonia and other respiratory diseases. Germs in the mouth multiply rapidly and can travel down to the lungs during sleep causing pneumonia. Especially risky in older people, it is essentially that good oral hygiene is maintained always to help prevent pneumonia.
Periodontitis has been associated with poor pregnancy outcomes such as preterm births and low birth weights. Pregnant women are at an increased risk of pathological dental conditions such as periodontist. This unfortunately can cause complications for both the mother and the baby, including the potential for tooth loss for the mother. When you practice good oral care it is common for the periodontal symptoms to go away after delivery. Routine dental visits while pregnant will help prevent it developing to gingivitis.
Symptoms of other health issues
Most people generally understand the importance of maintaining good oral health, but it is only recently that more people have begun to understand the connection between dental health and overall health. This is especially true for people with certain medical conditions such as heart disease, rheumatoid arthritis and kidney issues.
Your dentist will be able to detect the development of certain diseases based on your oral health with symptoms such as increased plaque build-up, cavities, tooth fractures, gum disease etc
How do you safeguard your dental health?
As oral health and overall health are so interconnected, it is imperative that oral hygiene is maintained to help you avoid the risk of further health complications. Follow these steps to maintain your dental health and help maintain your overall health.
Regular check ups help keep your teeth and gums healthy. Your dentist can check your overall oral health and spot any potential trouble areas early. Professional cleaning will move any plaque or tartar build up which again reduces the risk of possible dental complications.
Dentists are trained to spot early signs of gum disease which otherwise has no overtly outward symptoms. Checking on your gum health is an important part of a dental check-up as early detection will save a lot of issues arising later on.
Regular dental examinations help detect other health issues and refer you to the appropriate medical professional in time. With regular dental check ups you not only maintain good oral health but gain an indication of your overall health without having to consult multiple doctors.
Proper dental hygiene
You can keep a lot of the periodontal issues at bay by practicing and maintaining good dental hygiene. You will be able to get expert advice on how to maintain good gum and teeth health along with practical day to day habits you can adopt for oral health. A few basic steps you can adopt in your everyday life includes:
- Clean your tongue thoroughly when brushing your teeth
- Brush your teeth minimum twice a day
- Use fluoride toothpaste
- Flossing regularly
- Use mouthwash
- Drink lots of water
- Eat crunchy fruits and vegetables
- Limit the amount of acidic and sugary foods you eat
Selecting a reputed dental practice for procedures, treatments and consultations
When you select a reputed dental practice that has expert qualified dental practitioners you will be able to receive your dental treatments conveniently. From prevention to treatment to repairs to cosmetic dentistry requirements, you will not have to travel to multiple locations. Everything will be taken care of under one roof. You can also be assured a reputed dental practice will provide you with an emergency dental service if the need should arise.
Choosing a well maintained, clean and organised dental practice will also give you peace of mind that your oral health is in good hands from the initial consultation to the after treatment care process. Knowing that your dental requirements can be sorted out in one location goes a long way to relieving stress.
From the days when we were told to look after our teeth for aesthetic purposes we now know the importance of having good oral hygiene because it is closely interconnected with our overall general health. The way one affects the other is intricate and it is important that we understand that connection. Regular check ups and maintaining good oral health will be beneficial for us towards leading a healthy life.
Find a reputed dental practice that meets all your criteria, that is convenient for you to travel to and make dental check ups a regular part of your life.