Is Oral Health Linked To Your Overall Health

Is Oral Health Linked To Your Overall Health

We are all aware that our oral health is very important for the health of our teeth and gums. However, recent studies also suggest that there’s a connection between our oral health and overall wellness.

When you take good care of your teeth and gums, you are more likely to suffer from diabetes, heart disease, and other life-threatening illnesses, and for ladies out there, it could also mean a safer pregnancy. Here’s how you can improve your overall health through your dental health.

Two kinds of bacteria

To be honest, our mouths have a lot of bacteria no matter how thorough we are with brushing our teeth and how well we floss. Luckily, some of these bacteria are meant to be there and they’re harmless, while others can be dangerous and cause different diseases.

Regular brushing and flossing will help with keeping the ‘bad’ bacteria away, and if your overall dental health is good, even if these bacteria appear in your mouth, there wouldn’t be any damage done. This is one of the reasons why you should pay special attention to your oral health, as poor oral hygiene will lead to more serious problems such as gum disease and tooth decay.

How it all begins

The bacteria in our mouth make acids from the sugars in our food, but these acids can actually attack the teeth over time, and the decay can result in cavities. Plaque that forms on our teeth is soft, and with regular brushing and flossing, we protect our teeth from decay.

If not, plaque can harden and regular brushing can’t clean it, so you have to get a dental professional’s help. If left untreated, decay can advance so much that you may have to have the tooth extracted; in addition, the bacteria can cause gingivitis, i.e. gum inflammation. What’s more, if gingivitis is left untreated, it can advance to “periodontitis”.

Step one – gum disease

Gum disease is actually an umbrella term for several other oral health problems including gum inflammation (gingivitis) and serious cases of gum pulling (periodontitis). The bad news is that many people don’t even notice the early signs of these conditions such as bad breath, blood when flossing, and painful gum spots when chewing.

Even if they do notice, they don’t realize that it can be a warning sign of a more serious condition. Sadly, many adults lose teeth due to this condition, but what is even worse is that this disease can lead to many other, equally serious health complications in future, including heart disease, stroke, and even cancer.

Step two – infection

It’s a well-known fact that bacteria travels through the body, and if you have bacteria in your mouth it can easily reach other, healthy parts of your body and infect other tissue. Similarly like when the appendix bursts and the bacteria spread through your body, it’s possible for bacteria from your mouth to get elsewhere – to your gut, liver, and heart.

Patients who have pneumonia and who have been living in nursing homes have had mouth bacteria found in their respiratory fluid.

Immune system’s response

As if having Bacteria-infested gums isn’t enough to damage your health, your immune system can make things even more difficult for you. When your mouth is infected with gum disease, for example, your immune system tries to fight off the infection as fast as it can.

Your body releases certain enzymes that fight the infection, but the same enzymes can also damage your gums. Your gum tissue and the bone that supports your teeth are under the ‘attack’ from the enzymes and this can further worsen the condition.

Social ostracism

Any form of oral disease can greatly influence not only your health, but your social life as well. When you’re healthy, you don’t even notice how important healthy teeth and gums are, but when you get sick you realize that you have problems eating, sleeping, as well as interacting with other people.

Poor oral health can make you feel self-conscious and you might avoid talking to other people or even going to school or work because you don’t want others to see you and notice the problems you have. When your teeth are healthy and you’re not afraid to talk and smile in from of others, it makes you seem more approachable and more open, which is incredibly important when you interact with others.

Good sides of good oral health

People with diabetes usually have periodontal disease, and as they already have problems processing sugar they eat into energy, inflammation in the mouth can further worsen this condition. Luckily, when you take care of your gums, it can improve your condition, because your need for insulin will be somewhat reduced. Also, it’s noted by doctors that people with heart disease also have periodontitis and one of the reasons include the same risk factors for both conditions.

Inflammation in the mouth can put you at risk of heart attack because it will likely increase inflammation in blood vessels. So, when you treat inflammation in your mouth, you are actually protecting your heart too.

Your steps

While bad sides of poor oral health are certainly terrifying, the good news is that you can do something to prevent it. First things first: if it’s been a while since your last visit, schedule a checkup with a reliable Chatswood dentist so they can tell you how healthy your mouth actually is. If you actually have any issues with your gums or cavities, you shouldn’t wait but take action immediately, and ask for help to get better as soon as possible.

You should brush and floss every day, as well as have your teeth professionally cleaned every once in a while. These simple things will greatly improve your dental health and contribute to your overall health too.

Brushing your teeth a couple of times a day as well as flossing and using mouthwash will do you good and keep the ‘bad’ bacteria at bay. Still, you should have regular checkups with your dentist because even if you feel good and don’t notice that anything’s wrong, there might be some minor reason issue that needs to be addressed.

If you’re taking good care of our teeth and both you and your dentist are satisfied with your oral health, there is a great chance that both your dental and overall health are great.