Dental hygiene is more valuable than what one may realize.
This is deemed as the window to a person’s overall well-being.
Moreover, certain problems in the mouth can significantly affect the rest of the body.
With this, it is becoming more pivotal to have deeper understanding of the close linkage between overall health and oral health.
What is the connection between overall health and oral health?
Like several areas of the body, the mouth is filled with harmless bacteria. Naturally, excellent oral health care like daily flossing and brushing and the body’s natural defense can keep these germs under control.
But, without regular and proper oral hygiene, bacteria can easily reach levels that might result to serious oral infections like gum problems and tooth decay.
Certain medications like diuretics, painkillers, antihistamines and decongestants can minimize the flow of saliva. Saliva is the one that washes away food residues and balances the acids which are produced by the bacteria found in the mouth. This in turn shields a person from microbial overgrowth or invasion and may lead to different ailments.
Some research suggests that inflammation linked with periodontitis and oral bacteria may play essential role in some illnesses. Indeed, certain diseases like HIV or AIDS and diabetes can reduce the body’s resistance to infection which can make oral health complications worse.
What health conditions may be associated with oral health?
Oral health may affect or be affected by or may also contribute to different conditions and diseases such as:
- Cardiovascular disease: Some studies suggest that stroke, clogged arteries and heart disease may be associated with infections and inflammation that oral bacteria may cause.
- Endocarditis: This refers to an infection of the heart’s inner lining otherwise known as endocardium. Endocarditis usually takes place when germs or bacteria from other areas of the body like the mouth disseminate through the bloodstream and attach to the damaged part in a person’s heart.
- HIV or AIDS: Painful mucosal lesions are very common to people who are afflicted with HIV or AIDS.
- Conception and birth: Periodontitis has been connected to low birth weight and premature birth.
- Osteoporosis: This causes the bone to become brittle and may be connected with tooth loss and periodontal bone loss.
- Diabetes: This minimizes the body’s resistance to certain infections which puts the gums at greater risk. Furthermore, gum problems seem to be more common and serious among people suffering from diabetes. Studies reveal that people suffering from gum problems have more difficulty controlling their blood glucose levels.
Due to these potential links, it is important for patients to discuss with the dentist whether they have had any changes in their overall health, or if they are currently taking specific medications and particularly if they have had any current ailments or presently suffering from a chronic condition like diabetes.
Oral health complications are painful, expensive and may consume much of one’s time. Due to this it is quite important to practice good oral hygiene to prevent painful and costly to treat oral problems in the future.