You probably know that good oral hygiene prevents gum disease, bad breath, and teeth discoloration. But, did you know that oral health is crucial in the preservation of your overall health? Most of the time, your doctor will look inside your mouth to have a general idea of your ailment. According to the World Health Organization, oral health is the key indicator of overall health, well-being, and quality of life.
Your mouth contains both good and bad bacteria; if you have any problems caused by harmful bacteria, it can affect your body. Your mouth is the entry point to your respiratory and digestive system, which is why when you have problems in your mouth, it affects your health. These bacteria can get into your body systems if you don’t observe proper oral hygiene. Lack of enough saliva can also lead to building up of bacteria that are harmful to your health.
Having gum disease has also been linked to the risk of severe illnesses such as diabetes or heart diseases, according to recent studies.
Mouth and General Health, What’s the Connection?
The mouth offers a window to your body. The presence of sores in the mouth can indicate diseases such as HIV/Aids or Herpes. Going for a doctor’s visit in case of any issue, the doctor will take a sample of your saliva and test it for various compounds in the body such as drugs, hormones, alcohol, etc.
The bacteria in the mouth cause sticky colorless substances on the teeth that cause health problems. The build of this substance happens due to a lack of proper good oral health. The plaque accumulates along the gum line leading to additional bacteria. The other bacteria then lead to gum diseases such as gingivitis and periodontist. However, these diseases and bacteria do not enter the bloodstream through the blood, except when there is invasive treatment.
Medications to treat these gum diseases can cause a reduction in the production of saliva. Lack of enough saliva compromises your oral defense system and, consequently, your body’s immune system. Your immune system fights off any harmful bacteria in your body with ease. For people with the weakened immune system such as HIV and cancer patients, they may be affected by oral bacteria in the blood, which cause them to develop infections in another part of the body. There has been recent research on oral health, which showed the association of oral infections and poorly uncontrolled diseases.
Let’s take a look at these diseases to understand the connection:
- Preterm Birth
According to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, most people who have had preterm babies have also been diagnosed with oral disease. The toxins released through the bloodstream interfere with the development and growth of the unborn baby. The toxins also cause the production of labor, triggering hormones that induce early labor.
- Cardiovascular Disease
Gingivitis has been linked to heart diseases such as clogged arteries and veins. The inflammation of gingivitis does not happen in the mouth only but throughout the body. The inflammation encourages the buildup of atherosclerotic plaque in the arteries, which increases the risk of heart diseases and stroke. The risk increase as the severity of the disease increase.
People who have uncontrolled diabetes are also at risk of developing gum diseases. For those with gum disease, research has shown that they are at risk of developing more drug-resistant diabetes. The gum infection can cause the body to reject insulin, which puts them at risk of blood sugar.
You can prevent these diseases by observing proper dental hygiene that is brushing and flossing twice a day and also using a mouthwash. For teeth discoloration, use a teeth whitening toothpaste to deal with the problem.
Good oral health is as important as general health in every person. Taking measures to ensure that your oral health is in excellent condition will help you prevent some of the life-threatening diseases such as cardiovascular disease.