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How Improving Your Oral Health Can Improve Your Over-All Health

Learning About The Mouth-Body Connection And The Importance Of Good Oral Health

Many people do not realize how their oral health affects the rest of their overall general health.  You stand a really good chance of protecting your well-being by learning more about oral health and the connection it has to the health of your entire body including your brain.

The health of your teeth and gums offers clues to your overall health.  So it is pretty important to protect yourself and your children by taking time to learn about this mouth-body connection.

The mouth is a breeding ground for bacteria and most of them are fairly harmless. Daily oral hygiene can keep bacteria under control but with a lazy approach to oral hygiene, bacteria can gain ground and cause oral infections including tooth decay and gum disease.

The Connection Between Oral Disease And Other Diseases

You will find quite a few posts on our site that document various studies that link oral diseases with other diseases that affect other parts of the body and brain. Your oral health is so important to us that we thought it would be a good idea to point out some of the conditions that could be linked to what is going on in your mouth.  Here is a list that was recently compiled by a staff member of the Mayo Clinic.  These conditions include:

  • Endocarditis. Endocarditis is an infection of the inner lining of your heart (endocardium). Endocarditis typically occurs when bacteria or other germs from another part of your body, such as your mouth, spread through your bloodstream and attach to damaged areas in your heart.
  • Cardiovascular disease. Some research suggests that heart disease, clogged arteries, and stroke might be linked to the inflammation and infections that oral bacteria can cause.
  • Pregnancy and birth. Periodontitis has been linked to premature birth and low birth weight.
  • Diabetes. Diabetes reduces the body’s resistance to infection — putting the gums at risk. Gum disease appears to be more frequent and severe among people who have diabetes. Research shows that people who have gum disease have a harder time controlling their blood sugar levels and that regular periodontal care can improve diabetes control.
  • HIV/AIDS. Oral problems, such as painful mucosal lesions, are common in people who have HIV/AIDS.
  • Osteoporosis. Osteoporosis — which causes bones to become weak and brittle — might be linked with periodontal bone loss and tooth loss. Drugs used to treat osteoporosis carry a small risk of damage to the bones of the jaw.
  • Alzheimer’s disease. Worsening oral health is seen as Alzheimer’s disease progresses.

Other conditions that might be linked to oral health include eating disorders, rheumatoid arthritis, head and neck cancers, and Sjogren’s syndrome — an immune system disorder that causes dry mouth.

Please share with us any changes you may have in your overall health especially if you have had any recent illness or if you have a chronic condition such as diabetes. Also, make sure that we are aware of medications that you may be taking.

How Medication Can Affect Your Oral Health

Our body produces saliva that washes food away and also serves to neutralize acids that are created by the bacteria in your mouth. Silva is a protection mechanism against a microbial invasion that leads to disease.  Certain medications are responsible for a reduced saliva flow and should be carefully considered when trying to avoid oral diseases.  These medications include decongestants, antihistamines, painkillers, diuretics, and antidepressants.  If you must take these medications, moderation is highly recommended.

Prevent Illness, Protect Your Oral Health

Practice good oral health every day and never let it go.

Brush at least two times a day and never go to bed without brushing.

Use fluoride toothpaste

Floss your teeth and if you have bridges, get in under them with super floss

A healthy diet is essential to your overall wellbeing so choose your food wisely

Limit between-meal snacks

Replace your toothbrush at least every three months

Replace your toothbrush after a cold or flu

Avoid tobacco use

Take time for regular check-ups in our office

Also, remember to get in touch with us as soon as any dental issues arise.  By staying on top of your oral care, you are making an investment in the future of your health.