Oral health is important. That’s why most of us commit to brushing and flossing daily while others go as far as undergoing teeth whitening procedures and buying teeth whitening products such as Pearly Whites Dental Products. But taking care of your teeth will do more than just brighten your smile and prevent cavities. As it turns out, your oral health is connected to your general health. Health issues that originate from the mouth can affect other parts of your body. Certain health conditions in your body can also affect your dental health.
How are Oral Health and Overall Wellness Linked?
Your mouth contains bacteria just like other parts of your body. Your body’s immune response coupled with good oral practices helps to keep the bacteria under control ensuring that they remain harmless. But failure to observe proper dental care can affect your oral health leading to infections. One such infection is gum disease. It is the most prevalent chronic inflammatory condition globally.
According to research, gum disease is associated with other major illnesses such as diabetes. Periodontitis and other forms of gum disease lead to inflammation in the mouth. This inflammation can act as an entry point for bacteria into the bloodstream and later to other parts of the body leading to the following conditions:
- Cardiovascular disease – The bacteria that leads to periodontal disease and inflammation of the gums can travel through your bloodstream to your heart causing your arteries to harden (atherosclerosis). This increases the risk of stroke and heart attack.
- Diabetes – According to research, it is harder for diabetic people to control their blood sugar levels. In fact, studies show that treating periodontal disease reduces the need for insulin.
- Respiratory infections – According to the Periodontology Journal, they may be a link between gum disease and lung infections such as pneumonia.
- Premature births and low birth weights – Research has linked periodontitis to low birth weight and premature births.
Conditions that may lead to poor oral health
The relationship between your oral health and general health is reciprocal. There are various conditions in your body that can affect your oral health. For instance, diabetes affects your body’s immune system making it harder to resist infections. People with diabetes are, consequently, more prone to gum disease.
Victims of HIV/AIDS are more prone to oral infections like painful mucosal lesions.
Osteoporosis is a disease that weakens the bones hence its link to tooth loss. Patients also risk damaging their jawbones when they take drugs to treat the disease. Other diseases and conditions that may affect your oral health include cancers of the head and neck, rheumatoid arthritis, Alzheimer’s and eating disorders.
Practicing dental care is more important than you may have assumed. You’re not just preventing cavities and bad breath; your oral health may have a direct impact on your overall health. You should, therefore, adopt good oral hygiene practices including brushing your teeth regularly.
The American Dental Association recommends that you brush twice a day. Flossing is also another important practice that many tend to ignore. It helps in removing food particles that regular brushing may miss. Additionally, regular visits to the dentist are also recommended.