You might be astounded to learn that the advantages of excellent oral hygiene extend well beyond your mouth. In reality, the condition of your teeth and gums has a significant influence on your general health, medical bills, and quality of living.
Years ago, if a doctor suspected heart trouble, he or she would not likely recommend the patient to a gum expert. Diabetes, pregnancy, and just about every other medical ailment were all treated the same way. However, the world has changed since then. In the last 5 to 10 years, there has been a surge in interest in probable linkages between oral and overall health.
Sally Cram, DDS, PC, consumer adviser for the American Dental Association, states, “Physicians are taking a more holistic approach to their patient’s entire health.” And it’s not without cause. People with severe gum disease were 40 percent more likely to have a chronic ailment on top of it, according to recent research.
The mouth is the gateway to your body
To know how the mouth might impact the body, the first and foremost thing to note is what’s going wrong! Gum disease is caused by bacteria that accumulate on teeth. The immune system attacks the infection, causing the gums to swell and become inflamed. Unless the infection is treated, the inflammation will remain.
Inflammation and the chemicals it produces erode the gums and bone structure that holds teeth in place over time. Periodontitis, or serious gum disease, is the outcome. Inflammation can affect the rest of the body as well.
Bacteria from the mouth may readily enter the circulation, where it can cause infection and inflammation. To avoid major risks to the body’s overall health, it’s important to practice proper dental hygiene and see your dentist on a regular basis. Here are some of the most prevalent and significant health issues caused by poor dental hygiene:
People with poor dental health are more likely to develop heart disease. When the bacteria that cause periodontal disease inflames the gums, the germs can enter the circulation and cause plaque to build up and harden in the arteries. Atherosclerosis is the medical term for artery hardening, and it is a dangerous condition.
It causes blood flow issues and cardiac obstructions, as well as an increased risk of a heart attack. The damage to the arteries and blood vessels can cause hypertension and raise the risk of stroke. Endocarditis, which happens when the heart’s lining becomes infected and is generally deadly, can also develop.
Fortunately, gum disease may be avoided with frequent dental cleanings and good oral hygiene. This will lower your chances of heart disease while also keeping your smile healthy and bright.
The brain can be affected by poor oral health. Gums that are affected by infection emit substances that can destroy brain cells and cause memory loss.
When bacteria in the mouth travel to the nerve pathways or enter the bloodstream, it can cause dementia and perhaps Alzheimer’s disease.
Infections on the Respiratory System
Poor dental health might cause problems with the respiratory system. Bacteria in the mouth, such as those seen in diseased or damaged teeth and swollen gums, can be inhaled or transmitted through the bloodstream to the lungs. The bacteria can cause respiratory infections, pneumonia, acute bronchitis, and even COPD after they’ve entered the body.
Diabetics are already more vulnerable to infection, such as infected gums, which can progress to periodontal disease, and periodontal disease can make diabetes more complicated. As a result of gum disease, blood sugar levels might go out of whack, causing symptoms to increase.
Diabetics must pay extra attention to their dental health in order to avoid problems from their diabetes. A person with poor dental health is more likely to acquire diabetes because gum disease can contribute to higher-than-normal blood sugar levels.
Complications during pregnancy
It is vital that expecting moms maintain proper dental hygiene. Hormonal changes in your system during pregnancy might make it easier for a woman to have an infection in her mouth. Any kind of infection in the mother’s body raises her chances of having a difficult pregnancy.
Premature delivery and low birth weight in infants have been linked to oral health concerns in the mother, such as periodontitis and gingivitis. Gum disease poses the risk of major health problems for both the mother and the baby.
There’s a correlation between bad dental health and infertility issues in women. Gum problems can cause a variety of other health problems, making it hard for a woman to conceive and maintain a healthy pregnancy. It is possible that a woman with bad oral health will take more time to conceive than a woman with good oral health.
A man’s chances of developing erectile dysfunction are raised if he has poor dental hygiene. Chronic periodontal disease has been linked to ED in the past. CPD is an infection that develops when the gums move away from the teeth, forming pockets that harbour bacteria and enable the infection to migrate to the bone around the teeth.
Bacteria from infected gums can enter the circulation and cause inflammation of blood vessels. This inflammation can obstruct blood flow to the penis, making erections more challenging, if not impossible.
Oral and throat cancers are clearly connected to poor oral health behaviours like smoking or using tobacco products, but other forms of cancer have also been associated with gum disease. People with poor dental health are more likely to get kidney cancer, pancreatic cancer, and blood malignancies.
The chronic renal disease affects the kidneys, heart, bones, and blood pressure. Kidney dysfunction can be caused by infections in the body, such as periodontal disease. Gum disease patients typically have weakened immune systems and are more susceptible to infection. Many patients with poor dental health also have renal problems. If the renal disease progresses to kidney failure or cardiovascular disease, it can be deadly.
People with gum disease were four times more likely to have Rheumatoid Arthritis, according to the National Rheumatoid Arthritis Society. Inflammation is present in both disorders. Gingivitis bacteria can spread throughout the body, causing inflammation. Rheumatoid arthritis, a miserable and severe inflammatory condition, becomes significantly more likely as a result of this.
Periodontitis and osteoporosis have one common factor and that is bone loss. However, the relationship between the two is debatable. Osteoporosis affects the long bones in the arms and legs, while gum disease affects the jawbone. Others argue that osteoporosis is more frequent in women, whereas periodontitis is more common in males.
Despite the lack of evidence, several studies have indicated that women with osteoporosis had greater gum disease than those who do not. Researchers are examining the hypothesis that periodontitis-induced inflammation weakens bone in other regions of the body.
Quit tobacco for the sake of your oral as well as overall health
One of the most essential things you can do for your mouth and body is to stop smoking. A smoker’s risk of serious gum disease is three times higher than someone who does not smoke, according to the CDC.
Cigarettes include nicotine, which causes blood arteries to tighten. This makes it difficult for your gums to fight infection. Not only that, but smoking makes recovery more difficult since gum procedures are more intricate and recuperation is tougher.
Oral health is a key determinant of overall health.
Oral health is one of the ten major health indicators recognised by Healthy People 2020, along with other indicators such as access to health, nutrition, cancer, HIV, and heart disease.
Oral health is crucial for communication, interpersonal connections, and financial prosperity, in addition to allowing you to operate as a human being (i.e. speaking, smiling, smelling, and eating). Poor oral health can lead to a variety of unpleasant, debilitating, and expensive health problems.
This is mainly true for people who face the greatest barriers to dental care, such as rural and low-income households. According to the American Dental Association’s Health Policy Institute, one in every five low-income persons says their mouth and teeth are in bad condition, and one in every three of them says their mouth and teeth impact their ability to apply for a job.
Many of the factors that influence our oral health, such as food and cleanliness, are under our control if we practice good habits. Tooth decay (cavities) is the most prevalent chronic paediatric illness, although it may be avoided by eating a nutritious diet and practicing proper oral hygiene.
Plaque accumulation, on the other hand, without these healthy choices and practices, ultimately leads to cavities, gingivitis, or serious gum disease, which exposes your teeth and gums, as well as other parts of your body, to danger.
The best method to avoid significant health problems caused by poor oral hygiene is to practice proper oral hygiene and visit your dentist on a regular basis.
Therefore, in order to maintain proper oral hygiene
• Brush your teeth and gums for two minutes at least twice a day.
• Floss your teeth at least once a day.
• Tobacco products such as cigarettes and chewing tobacco should be avoided.
• Fluoride-containing toothpaste and mouthwash should be used.
• Sugary meals and beverages should be avoided.
• For optimal nutrition, eat a well-balanced diet.
• Take vitamins to help you maintain good oral health.
Healthy teeth are clean and devoid of cavities and disease-related suffering. Gums that are in good health are pink and do not bleed when brushed or flossed. The state of one’s teeth is a good predictor of one’s general health.
Preventing oral health problems like gingivitis and periodontal disease can help lower your chance of developing more significant health problems throughout your body. Hence, it is highly recommended to take good care of your oral health as good oral health promises good overall health.