Healthy Mouth Healthy Body With Regular Dental Care
Taking good care of your mouth — teeth and gums — does more than help ensure you have a bright, white smile.
A healthy mouth and healthy body go hand in hand. Good oral hygiene and oral health can improve your overall health, reducing the risk of serious disease. The phrase “healthy mouth, healthy you” really is true — and backed by growing scientific evidence.
Our oral health very certainly influences our overall general health. In other words we could say that having bad oral health puts us in a category of people who have a great risk of developing other health problems such as: Osteoporosis, Heart Disease, problems in pregnancy, diabetes and many kinds of respiratory disease. These are just a few kinds of health hazards one could develop as a side effect of poor oral health, there are many more that are not mentioned here.
Emerging science suggests that advanced gum disease may be linked to diabetes, cardiovascular problems, and pre-term birth. The early stage of gum disease is gingivitis—which affects a majority of all adult Americans at some point in their lives. And most don’t even know it.
The Mouth and Body Connection
Many theories exist and more studies are underway to explore the connection between good oral health and overall health. Despite the differing opinions on this topic, one thing is clear: a healthy mouth leads only to good things.
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Maintain A Healthy Mouth To Keep A Healthy Body
Explore some of the connections between a healthy mouth and a healthy body:
Oral Care & Bad Breath
Decayed teeth and gum disease are often associated not only with an unsightly mouth but very bad breath. Chronic bad breath may be a sign of a more serious problem in your mouth. In fact, poor oral hygiene and gum disease are the primary causes of chronic bad breath.
Thankfully, for most, the solution is easy—a better oral care routine and regular dental care.
Oral Care & Gingivitis
Gingivitis is a lot more common than you may think. About 50% of US adults have some form of gingivitis. Gingivitis, while common, may progress to a more serious condition called periodontitis if left untreated.
Even more concerning, new studies suggest that over time, periodontitis may affect the health of your entire body. The good news is that you can help prevent gingivitis with an oral care routine that includes brushing, flossing and rinsing with an antiseptic mouthwash.
Oral Care & Periodontitis
Periodontitis is a serious gum infection that can occur if gingivitis is allowed to progress. Medical science has shown that periodontitis weakens your teeth’s support system, which, in turn, can cause tooth loss.
In addition, emerging science suggests that periodontitis may be associated with diabetes, heart disease, and numerous other health issues.
When you have periodontitis, it requires ongoing professional care. Therefore, prevention is key. Adopt a good oral care routine and see your dentist regularly.
Oral Care & Dry Mouth
Everyone has a dry mouth occasionally, especially if you are under stress or are taking certain medications. But some people have it far more often than others. If you’re one of those people with frequent dry mouth, it’s not something you should ignore.
That’s because saliva is one of our body’s natural defenses against disease-causing germs. Without it, you are far more likely to develop cavities and gum disease—conditions that may worsen and lead to other health problems.
Your first line of defense against dry mouth is drinking plenty of water. You’ll also want to follow a healthy oral care routine that includes brushing, flossing, and rinsing with antimicrobial mouthwash.
If symptoms persist, talk to your physician, dentist or hygienist about other ways to alleviate this condition.
Oral Care & Smoking
Did you know that smoking is one of the leading risk factors of gum disease and oral cancer? Both are serious conditions that are often difficult to treat — especially if you continue to smoke.
That’s why your dentist and physician strongly agree with the Surgeon General: quitting is the best thing you can do for your mouth and your body. But it is also important to have a healthy oral care routine; it helps reduce the risk of developing gum disease. To learn about the latest ways to quit smoking, talk to your doctor about treatment options.
Oral Care & Heart Disease
New studies suggest that advanced gum disease may be a contributing factor to heart disease. One theory is that gum disease, if allowed to progress to periodontitis, may allow oral germs to enter the bloodstream. These germs may affect the heart by attaching to the fatty plaques in your arteries, contributing to the formation of clots. According to this theory, these clots, in turn, can cause the restriction of blood flow (a.k.a. atherosclerosis) which may lead to a heart attack.
The effect of periodontitis has not been firmly established, but it is always a good idea to take good care of your mouth. Also, be sure to tell your dentist or hygienist if you have a heart condition or if you are taking any heart medication. That way, your dentist can manage your treatment in partnership with your physician.
Oral Care & Stroke
Emerging science suggests that advanced gum disease may be associated with the presence of blocked arteries in the brain, a condition which may lead to a stroke.
One theory suggests that gum disease, if allowed to progress, may allow germs to enter the bloodstream. These germs may attach to the fatty plaques in your arteries, contributing to the formation of clots. According to this theory, these clots, in turn, can cause the restriction of blood flow and, in extreme cases, a stroke.
So take good care of your mouth, and be sure to talk to your dentist or hygienist about proper oral care.
Oral Care & Diabetes
Emerging science suggests that diabetes and gum disease may be linked. Not only does diabetes increase your chance of gum infection, but gum infection may make diabetes harder to control.
Diabetics are significantly more likely to develop gum disease because of the way diabetes slows the body’s natural healing process. Research also suggests that advanced gum disease may have an adverse effect on blood-sugar levels—potentially making diabetes treatment less effective.
For these reasons, physicians and dentists say that a good oral care routine is vital for diabetics. Tell your dentist, hygienist, or physician if you have diabetes, or if you’ve been told you are at risk for diabetes.
It’s never too early to start teaching your children to take care of teeth and gums — healthy habits learned in childhood can pay off in adulthood. And, if you’re tempted to shrug off your good oral hygiene habits — brushing, flossing, and seeing your dentist regularly — remember that you’re a role model for your kids.
More and more, our expanding knowledge about the link between oral health and overall body health highlights the importance of flossing, brushing and regular dental checkups. For a healthier mouth and a healthier you, visit your Family Dentist regularly!