Being asked to brush and floss our teeth is probably a strong memory from our childhood. For most years, it was achievement to brush your teeth daily. We know that good oral hygiene helps keep bad breath, gum disease and tooth decay at bay but what most people don’t know is that a good oral hygiene does much more than that.
Your mouth is a window to your body. With one drop of saliva, doctors can now diagnose every single thing that goes on in your body. The recent researches show that the condition of your mouth can prove useful in determining the early stages of more serious, prolonged conditions.
How is oral health related to overall health?
How is it not? Your mouth is the prime source of bacteria in the body. Whatever you consume leaves it traces in the mouth—on the hard palate, between the teeth, on the tongue. And when you don’t brush and floss regularly this residual bacterium multiplies and leads to the formation of plaque along the surface which is a suitable environment for bacteria to dwell in.
The development of plaque causes gum infection, scientifically known as gingivitis, which in extreme cases can prove to be quite harmful for the body. But that’s not the only thing that plaque can cause in your body. Many recent studies have revealed that there is a covert relationship between oral infections and other common health conditions.
Plaque can be a potential cause of:
- Cardiovascular diseases: Gum diseases may also contribute to clogged blood cells and arteries. The bacteria present in the mouth are potentially capable of causing inflammation throughout the body. This inflammation then becomes the base for the development of plaques in the arteries which increases your chances of suffering from a stroke or a heart attack. The reasons for this have not been completely understood yet but studies have revealed that up to 91% of patients with heart disease have gum infection.
- Diabetes: A diabetic patient has 10 times the risk of developing a condition as compared to people who don’t have diabetes. Poor oral hygiene leading to extreme, and sometimes chronic, cases of gum disease make diabetes harder to control. Gum infection can increase the insulin resistance of the body making it more challenging to control the blood sugar.
What are some other health conditions linked to oral health?
- Eating disorders
- Head and neck cancers
- Sjogren’s syndrome—a disorder in the immune system that causes dry mouth.
- Rheumatoid Arthritis
While these are the conditions that are triggered by bad oral health, there are certain health conditions that cause oral problems in the body. People who host the presence of any of the following health conditions are more likely to get an oral infection and thereby intensified health problems:
- Diabetes: Like mentioned earlier, diabetic people are 10 times more prone to any disease as opposed to people without diabetes. This is because diabetes subsequently reduces the body’s resistance to infection. Gum infection and disease are more frequent among diabetic patients.
- Osteoporosis: The weakness in the bones has been linked to periodontal tooth and bone loss. The drugs that are used to treat this condition carry a minor risk to the bones of the jaw. The gradual dosage of these drugs can lead to gum infections in the body.
- HIV/AIDS: People who are infected with HIV/AIDS are more prone to develop oral problems.
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Smoking: We all know, as a fact that tobacco usage can lead to mouth and lung cancer. But not many of us realise it. Avoiding smoking habits is one of the best things that you can do for your mouth and your body. A smoker’s risk of developing gum disease is severely higher than a non-smoker’s.
How can I maintain a good oral health?
Oral health is the result of oral hygiene. Maintaining healthy oral hygiene is a result of some rather simple efforts that one can make in their everyday routine:
- Brush your teeth twice a day.
- Floss every single day.
- Avoid tobacco usage.
- Pay regular visits to NEO Dentristry for a check-up and cleaning.
- Replace your toothbrush every four months or sooner than that if the bristles begin to fray.
- Eat a healthy diet.
By now, it has become clear that the hygiene of your oral health is linked to your overall health in more ways than one. Your mouth can affect your body and your body can affect your mouth. Taking good care of your teeth is essential for your overall health and vice-versa. The wisest thing to do is to visit NEO Dentistry regularly and keep a check on your dental and oral hygiene.