At Empire Dental, we recognize that your oral health is very important. The content below discusses how your oral health affects your overall health, some health conditions that may be associated with oral health, and ways to protect your oral health.
How oral health affects your overall health
Everyone’s mouth contains bacteria, most of which is harmless. With the body’s natural defenses and good oral care such as brushing and flossing regularly, these bacteria can be managed without issue. However, when bacteria levels become too high when not cared for, oral infections such as tooth decay and gum disease can occur.
Medications also play a role in your oral health. Some medications such as painkillers, diuretics, decongestants, and antihistamines, can reduce the flow of saliva. As saliva neutralizes acids produced by bacteria and washes away remnants of food, it helps to protect you from microbial invasion or overgrowth which may subsequently lead to disease. Since saliva flow is reduced while taking some of the aforementioned medications, it is important to monitor your oral health with greater scrutiny.
It has also been suggested that oral bacteria and inflammation associated with periodontis (severe gum disease) may be linked to some diseases. Furthermore, the body’s resistance to infection is reduced with certain diseases or conditions, such as diabetes, which makes oral health problems more problematic.
Conditions that may be linked to oral health
The following diseases and conditions may be linked or attributed to your oral health:
- Cardiovascular Disease: It has been considered that heart disease, blocked and clogged coronary arteries, and stroke may be attributed to inflammation and infections that oral bacteria may cause.
- Diabetes: As diabetes reduces resistance to infection, this places the gums at risk. For people with diabetes, gum disease appears more frequently and severely. Furthermore, people who have gum disease have a more difficult time controlling blood sugar levels.
- Osteoporosis: Osteoporosis may be attributed with tooth loss and periodontal bone loss.
- Alzheimer’s disease: Decay and loss of teeth prior to the ages of 35 may be an indicator of Alzheimer’s disease.
- Endocarditis: Endocarditis is the infection of the inner lining of the heart (endocardium). The condition of Endocarditis can occur when occur when bacteria from another part of the body spreads through the bloodstream and attaches to damaged regions of the heart.
Pregnancy and birth: Premature birth and low birth weight has been linked to Periodontis.
Due to the association between the above conditions and dieases and oral health, it is important that your dentist is informed if you are taking any medication in addition to any changes to your health.
How to protect your oral health
In order to protect your oral health, it is important to practice good oral hygiene daily.
- Brush and Floss at least twice a day.
- Consume healthy foods and avoid foods with high sugar content.
- Ensure that your toothbrush is in optimum condition and replace it three or four times a year.
- Schedule dental checkups regularly.