When people take into consideration the state of their health, rarely are their teeth the first item that comes to mind. But according to the medical professionals at the Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, the state of your dental care can indeed have a direct effect on your overall health and well-being. Fact is, the many issues and problems that occur in the mouth can pose negative consequences for the rest of your body.
What it all comes down to is bacteria. Your mouth is teaming with all sorts of bacteria, most of which is benign and won’t cause any physical problems. However, since the mouth (and your teeth in particular) is the gateway to your respiratory and digestive tracts, harmful bacteria can end up causing serious disease. Luckily, nature has designed the human body to fight off most of these diseases. That, plus practicing good dental care, including keeping regular twice per year dental cleaning appointments at a certified oral health specialist. Only when you commit to regular dental checkups can you keep the nasty bacteria at bay and live a healthy, disease free existence.
But without proper daily dental care, like brushing two to three times per day and flossing at least once per day, you place your body at serious risk, since harmful bacteria will almost certainly lead to oral infections, tooth decay, and even gum disease.
What other oral and dental care related issues can affect your overall health?
Says, the Mayo Foundation, certain everyday medications such as painkillers, diuretics, antidepressants, and even decongestants can reduce the natural flow of saliva in the mouth. Nature designed saliva to wash away food particles and also to neutralize the acids that create the harmful bacteria and microbes that inflict great harm on not only the digestive tract, but even your heart.
Taken a step further, severe gum disease such as periodontitis can potentially play a significant role in life threatening diseases such as diabetes, and even HIV/AIDS. That alone should make you think twice about skipping out on brushing your teeth and/or missing your dental cleaning appointment. You should always bear in mind, proper dental care not only aids in good health, it can be the key to good health.
But what other medical conditions can be directly associated to dental care?
The list might surprise or even frighten you.
*Heart disease: In this case, endocarditis, which occurs when harmful bacterial in the mouth spreads to the inner linings of your heart chambers and valves, via the bloodstream. This condition can cause severe damage to the heart and even death. Cardiovascular degeneration can also occur when bad bacterial finds its way into the blood stream. By not practicing good dental care, your arteries can become clogged, leading to heart attack and stroke.
*Complications with pregnancy: Researchers are said to have established a direct connection between periodontitis and premature birth, and also dangerously low birth weight in newborns.
*Respiratory Infections: By ignoring good dental and oral health practices and getting regular dentist checkups, harmful bacteria can enter into the lungs which can lead not only to life threatening pneumonia but other respiratory disease.
Are there other serious medical conditions related to dental care?
*Diabetes: People who suffer from gum disease are said to have a much harder time controlling their blood sugar levels. That’s why regular dental checkups and good oral care can help control diabetes.
*Osteoporosis: Several medications used to treat bone-weakening diseases such as osteoporosis are said to cause damage to the bones associated with both the upper and lower jaws, resulting in tooth decay and took loss.
*Alzheimer’s Disease: Those persons afflicted with Alzheimer’s often simply forget to brush their teeth and floss regularly. Since the disease is degenerative in nature, as it progresses, oral health only worsens over time.
How should you protect your overall health and well-being?
Best dental practices include but are not limited to, brushing at least twice per day with fluoride toothpaste. Floss regularly, optimally after each meal. Follow up by gargling and rinsing your mouth with mouthwash. A healthy, low sugar diet that also excludes processed foods is highly recommended. Limit and/or refrain from alcohol and tobacco use. More importantly, scheduling regular checkups and dental cleanings is imperative.
Proper dental care can be key in maintaining good health. But even those of you who engage good dental practices will be subject to oral health issues on occasion. That’s why it’s important not to ignore them. The moment a dental problem arises, you should immediately contact your dentist. Your overall health could very well depend upon it.