Did you know that your oral health offers clues about your overall well being? Problems in your mouth can affect the rest of your body and you must protect yourself by learning more about the connection between your oral hygiene and overall health.
What is the connection between oral hygiene and wellbeing?
Your mouth is the entry point for most bacteria to your digestive and respiratory tracts, and some of these bacteria can cause disease. The body naturally defends against this bacteria but good oral health care, such as daily brushing and flossing, is an excellent way to keep bacteria under control. However, without proper oral hygiene, bacteria can reach levels that might lead to oral infections, such as tooth decay and gum disease.
What are the areas of concern?
Your teeth, tongue, and entire mouth are vital when it comes to your oral health. However, your gums, also known as your gingiva, have the most significant influence on your overall health. Specifically, unhealthy gums can affect your health in many ways. Those areas of concern include:
The bacteria from inflammation of the gum disease can enter your bloodstream and travel to the arteries in the heart leading to Atherosclerosis. This is where plaque develops and becomes thicker on the inner walls of your arteries causing your blood flow to decrease, leading to an increased risk of a heart attack or stroke.
Gingivitis bacteria can enter your brain through nerve channels or the bloodstream, possibly leading to Alzheimer's disease.
Inhaling bacteria from infected teeth and gums over a long time could lead to lung infections such as pneumonia.
Periodontal disease can make your blood sugar difficult to control and make your diabetes worse.
The more teeth that are lost due to gum disease, the higher the risk of rheumatoid arthritis.
What signs should I look out for?
- Inflammation of the gums, causing them to be red, swollen, and bleed easily, especially when brushing.
- An unpleasant taste in your mouth and/or bad breath.
- Any loose teeth.
- Regular mouth infections.
What steps can I take to protect my oral health?
To protect your oral health, practice good oral hygiene daily.
- Brush your teeth at least twice a day using fluoride toothpaste.
- Floss daily.
- Use mouthwash to remove food particles left after brushing and flossing.
- Eat a healthy diet and limit food with added sugars.
- Replace your toothbrush every three months or sooner if bristles are starting to wear.
- Attend regular dental checkups and cleanings.
- Avoid tobacco use.
Every part of our body needs to be cared for, and a healthy oral hygiene routine will do just that for your teeth, mouth, and smile. That should keep the rest of your body in great shape as well, so it is important not to forget about it.