Oral health and your overall health: what’s the connection?
Take care of your teeth | Photo credit: iStock images
- Your dental beads aren’t just there to beautify your smile.
- Your teeth are not just a tool for chewing food into pieces.
- The health of your bumps decides your overall health and especially your cardiovascular health.
A doctor can examine your teeth and tell a lot about your overall health. Maybe you never realized that the problems in your mouth can affect the rest of your body.
If only you learned the connection between your oral health and your overall health, you would want to protect your teeth a lot more.
What is the connection between oral health and overall health? According to Mayo Clinic – like other parts of the body, your mouth is full of bacteria, most of them harmless. But your mouth is the entry point to your digestive and respiratory tract, and some of these bacteria can cause illness.
This is why doctors insist that you eat a regular diet to maintain the body’s natural defenses while taking care of your oral health.
Good practices such as daily brushing and flossing keep bacteria under control. However, without good oral hygiene, bacteria can reach levels that can lead to oral infections, such as tooth decay and gum disease, experts at the Mayo Clinic warn.
Diseases and conditions that can set in due to poor oral health:
The Mayo Clinic points out how not taking care of your teeth and gums can allow certain diseases to take hold:
Endocarditis. Infection of the inner lining of your heart chambers or valves occurs when germs in your mouth spread through your bloodstream and attach to certain areas of your heart.
Heart disease. Heart disease, blocked arteries, and strokes could be linked to the inflammation and infections that oral bacteria can cause.
Pregnancy and childbirth complications. Periodontitis has been associated with premature birth and low birth weight.
Pneumonia. Some bacteria in your mouth can be drawn into your lungs, causing pneumonia and other respiratory illnesses.
Diabetes. Research shows that people with gum disease have a harder time controlling their blood sugar.
Alzheimer’s disease. Oral health deteriorates as Alzheimer’s disease progresses.
How can I protect my oral health?
Here’s how to keep your mouth and teeth healthy:
- Brush your teeth twice a day with fluoride toothpaste
- Clean between your teeth daily with dental floss or some other type of cleanser between your teeth
- Smart Snack – Eat a healthy diet and limit foods with added sugars.
- Do not smoke or chew tobacco
- Floss daily.
- Use a mouthwash to remove food particles left behind after brushing and flossing.
- Replace your toothbrush every three months or sooner if the bristles are flared or worn.
- Visit your dentist or oral health professional regularly.
Remember that taking care of your oral health is an investment in your overall health.
Disclaimer: The tips and suggestions mentioned in the article are for general information purposes only and should not be construed as professional medical advice. Always consult your doctor or dietitian before starting a fitness program or making any changes to your diet.