Your mouth helps you with many functions such as eating, speaking, and breathing. This part of the body and its health is often the most easily forgotten and taken for granted. However, in the absence of good oral hygiene, you can end up with problems not just in your mouth but also elsewhere in your body. Read on to know how oral health affects your overall health and why good dental care is important for your wellness.
Poor oral health results in diseases
When your teeth, gums, tongue, are infected, the results aren’t always localized to the mouth. In fact, an infection in the gums can cause inflammation in the rest of the body. Some common diseases which are caused by poor oral hygiene are as follows.
• Cardiovascular diseases – researches indicate that people with gum diseases are twice as likely as others to die from a heart attack and thrice as likely to get a stroke. Inflamed gums can irritate arteries and cause complications to the cardiovascular system. When germs spread from the teeth into the bloodstream, they can cause infections in the lining of the inner heart, a condition called endocarditis.
• Diabetic problems – an infection or inflammation in the gums affects the body’s ability to control blood sugar, thereby resulting in or worsening symptoms of diabetes. Alternately, high blood sugar provides an ideal condition for germs to grow, thereby worsening oral health. Treatment of periodontal disease typically reduces the need for insulin.
• Respiratory troubles – Inhaling bacteria-ridden air from infected teeth or gums over extended periods of time can cause lung infections including pneumonia, bronchitis, and emphysema. Also, gum disease tends to worsen pre-existing lung conditions such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
• Pregnancy complications – poor oral health can result in gestational problems such as premature birth or low birth weight. Hence, maintaining good oral hygiene is of utmost importance during pregnancy.
Oral diseases can indicate underlying conditions
Sometimes, oral diseases are an indication of an underlying problem elsewhere in the body. For example, bad breath can be a symptom of other underlying issues such as gastric problems. Headaches and earaches can often result from bruxism or grinding of the teeth, a condition typically caused by stress or anxiety. Enamel erosion in teeth and resulting sensitivity may occur from acid reflux. Having your mouth examined for teeth and gum problems thus can point you in the direction of other diseases or disorders that need treatment as well.
Oral diseases can cause pain
Thanks to the thousands of nerve endings surrounding the teeth, most infections of the teeth and gums cause some form of pain or the other. Intense toothaches can lead to severe headaches, inability to concentrate, or more severe conditions if not treated on time. Thus, it can affect the overall quality of your life.
Good dental care – what to do
Routine and preventive dental care plays a crucial role in maintaining oral health and thereby, your overall health. Here are a few things to do to ensure that your teeth and gums, and thereby your body, stay healthy.
• Brush twice daily – Brushing the outside, inside, and chewing part of your teeth for 2 minutes in the morning and evening helps clear out foodstuff lodged in your teeth. This prevents dental cavities and thereby, infections.
• Floss everyday – Brushing removes most parts of food lodged within teeth, but flossing ensures that the contact area between two teeth remains clean as well. The practice also keeps your gums healthy.
• Drink enough water – Keeping your mouth hydrated, especially when you are taking medication or when you have low saliva production, helps wash away germs in the mouth. Rinsing your mouth with water after every meal also helps in this regard.
• Conduct routine dental check-ups every six months – Visiting your dentist twice every year for preventive care is equally important for oral health. The check-up helps identify warning signs or early ones which suggest that trouble may be brewing inside your mouth. Such check-ups help fix dental problems before they flare up or become worse.
Now that you know how oral health is to overall health take good care of your teeth and gums everyday at home and regularly at the dentist. These best practices will surely pay off in the long run.
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