- by Dr. Karanjit Dhillon
- October 24, 2022
Studies prove that there’s a close relationship between oral health and the overall wellness of a person.
There are far many vital roles that Brushing, flossing, and regular visits to dental specialists play other than protecting you from cavities. We usually tend to ignore our health while giving attention to other avenues of life.
Gum disease is known to have a link with a host of illnesses including heart disease, diabetes, respiratory disease, osteoporosis, and rheumatoid arthritis.
Research has shown that gum disease is one of the contributing factors to heart disease and people with gum disease are more likely to have a stroke.
Though Gum disease is the most common chronic inflammatory condition in the world, it is often a silent disease. Being an entry point to the digestive and respiratory tracts, Our mouth can act as a doorway for an infection to enter.
The bacteria can enter the bloodstream, due to ongoing inflammation in the mouth which may lead to more inflammation in other parts of the body, like the heart. The health of the teeth and gums can affect the general health of the person.
What’s the Connection Between Oral Health and Overall Health?
Normally the bacteria can be kept under control by the body’s natural immune systems and proper oral health care, like daily brushing and flossing.
However, a lack of proper oral hygiene can cause the bacteria to reach levels that may lead to oral infections, like tooth decay and gum disease.
Certain medications like decongestants, antihistamines, painkillers, diuretics, and antidepressants can also reduce the flow of saliva, washing away food and neutralizing acids produced by bacteria in the mouth, which help to protect you from microbes that multiply and can lead to disease.
Oral bacteria and the inflammation associated with periodontitis which is a severe form of gum disease can play a role in some diseases.
Moreover, a few diseases, like diabetes and HIV/AIDS, can lower the body’s ability to fight an infection, making oral health problems more severe.
Also Read: All About Gum Contouring: An Essential Guide
Conditions That Can Be Linked to Oral Health
Many diseases can be linked to oral health. They include:
- Endocarditis: Infection of the inner lining of the heart chambers or valves called endocardium, endocarditis normally occurs due to bacteria or other germs from another part of the body, such as the mouth, spreading through the bloodstream and attaching to certain areas in the heart.
- Cardiovascular disease: A few studies indicate that heart disease, clogged arteries, and stroke can be linked to the inflammation and infections caused by oral bacteria.
- Pregnancy and birth complications: Some studies link Periodontitis or gum disease to premature birth and low birth weight.
- Pneumonia: Certain bacteria in the mouth can be pulled into the lungs, and cause pneumonia and other respiratory diseases.
Which Health Conditions Can Affect Oral Health?
- Diabetes: Diabetes reduces the body’s resistance to infection, putting the gums at risk. Gum disease is known to be more common and severe in people with diabetes. At the same time, people with gum disease have a harder time controlling their blood sugar levels. Diabetes can be controlled with regular periodontal care.
Regulating diabetes, can improve the condition in the mouth, and treating periodontal disease, can help reduce the dose of insulin.
- HIV/AIDS: People who have HIV/AIDS are very commonly affected by Oral problems, like painful mucosal lesions.
- Osteoporosis: One of the known causes behind periodontal bone loss and tooth loss is weakened bones. Moreover, a few specific drugs used to treat osteoporosis pose a small risk of harm to the bones of the jaw.
- Alzheimer’s disease: Progression of Alzheimer’s disease sees the worsening of oral health.
Some other conditions can be linked to oral health.
- Eating disorders
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Some types of cancers and
- An immune system disorder (Sjogren’s syndrome) that causes dry mouth.
When you visit us, do tell our dentist about the medications you take and about changes in your overall health or if you’ve recently been ill or you suffer from a chronic condition, such as diabetes.
Protecting Oral Health
Practicing good oral hygiene daily is very important for optimal oral health.
- Brush your teeth at least twice daily with a soft-bristled brush.
- Floss Daily
- The use of an antimicrobial mouthwash can help to remove food particles that are left after brushing and flossing.
- Make sure to consume a healthy diet and limit sugary food and drinks.
- A toothbrush should be replaced every three to four months, or even sooner if you feel the bristles are worn out.
- Scheduling regular dental checkups and cleanings is extremely important as most of the time it allows the problem to be nipped in the bud.
- Avoid the use of tobacco.
The health of your teeth and gums has an extremely vital impact on overall health and on your medical expenses, and quality of life.
We usually tend to overlook and miss the importance of oral health in connection to our overall health.
However, we need to remember that Oral health is a leading health indicator. Good oral health not only boosts your functional performance as a human being for example speaking, smiling, smelling, eating, etc but also improves your confidence and communication skills. Poor dental health can have serious outcomes like painful, and costly health conditions.