A Family Dentist Explains Why Dental Health Is So Important
Our family dentists in our Buford office say dental health is a lot more important than most people realize. Your oral health is closely related to your overall health as issues in the mouth increase your risk of certain health conditions. For example, people with gum disease are more likely to develop diabetes and heart disease.
A family dentist goes over the link between oral and overall health
Like many other areas of the body such as the stomach, a person's mouth serves as a home for millions of bacteria. Most of these microorganisms are harmless, but some can lead to illness and diseases. Under most circumstances, the body's natural defense systems and good oral hygiene are enough to keep the bacteria under control. When a person fails to take proper care of their mouth, bacteria in the mouth can reach dangerous levels. This can lead to issues like gum disease and tooth decay.
There are also a variety of medications like diuretics, painkillers, and antihistamines that dry out the mouth. Saliva helps to remove bacteria and acids in the mouth, and this protection is lost when a person's mouth is dry.
Studies have already linked oral health to diseases like:
- Endocarditis: This is an infection of the lining of the heart valves or chamber. It usually occurs when bacteria from other parts of the body, like the mouth, enter the bloodstream and reach the heart. This is one of the reasons why a dentist might opt to extract a tooth with an advanced infection
- Cardiovascular disease: Some research indicates oral infections increase the risk of conditions like strokes, clogged arteries, and heart disease
- Birth complications: Advanced gum disease increases the risk of a pregnancy resulting in low birth weight or a premature birth
- Pneumonia: Some of the bacteria that live in the mouth can be pulled into the lungs as a person inhales. This can lead to respiratory disease like pneumonia
Conversely, a person's overall health can also have an effect on their dental health. For instance, diabetes reduces the immune system's resistance to infection. This increases the person's risk of gum disease since their gums have less resistance to bacteria. Also, people with gum disease tend to have more difficulty controlling their blood sugar levels.
Just as is the case with diabetes, HIV/AIDS hinders the immune system, making a person more susceptible to issues like gum disease.
Osteoporosis is a condition that leads to the loss of bone tissue in the body and it can also damage bone structures in the mouth. That leads to teeth becoming loose or falling out.
Protecting your mouth
It does not take much to keep your mouth healthy. Here is what you should be doing:
- Brush twice every day
- Floss daily
- Use a mouthwash after brushing
- Eat calcium-rich foods
- Reduce sugar consumption
- Replace your toothbrush every three months
- Quit smoking
- Visit a dentist twice a year
Having a healthy mouth is a must
Contact our clinic to learn more about how your oral health affects your overall health and wellbeing. Our dentist can perform preventative treatments while you are here.
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