Oral health refers to the entire oral-facial system that entails your teeth, gums, tongue, inner cheeks, salivary glands, and other parts of your mouth that help you break down food, smile, and speak.
Since your mouth is the only channel for food and fluids to enter the digestive system, it is vulnerable to harmful bacteria and viruses. This is why maintaining good oral hygiene can directly influence your overall health.
In recent years, the average number of adults receiving dental treatment has surged to a staggering 65.7% in Florida, while over 45% of adults suffered tooth loss due to gum diseases and tooth decay.
Many people don’t find a strong connection between overall health and oral well-being. But the truth is, they are both closely related.
Certain oral health diseases cause serious infections that destroy bone and soft tissue surrounding the oral cavity and teeth.
Long-term oral health concerns can lead to individuals having major health problems. Read on as we unveil the deep connection between oral health and general well-being.
Effects of Oral Health on Overall Wellness
Your dentist can quickly determine your overall health by looking at your mouth. This is because bacteria from your mouth can easily spread throughout the body and lead to a myriad of long-term or serious health problems.
Keeping good oral health can prevent the onset of other diseases. Since a high percentage of people suffer from gum diseases in Florida, we recommend visiting a good dentist at least twice a year.
With a team of highly-qualified dentists and skillful professionals, credible dental services like Hess Orthodontics Florida provide quality orthodontics services. Apart from quality dental aesthetics, they provide early treatment for gum diseases in an effort to avoid long-term health problems.
Diseases Caused by Poor Oral Health
Here are some of the most common yet serious health conditions caused by prolonged oral health issues:
Periodontal or Gum Diseases
A lack of oral hygiene leads to infection of the gums and bones surrounding your teeth over time due to bacteria in the mouth.
The presence of bacteria inside the mouth is essential as good bacteria help break down and digest food. However, when oral hygiene is neglected over time, bacterial growth reaches a level where it starts causing tooth decay, leading to gum diseases. In rare cases, prolonged gum diseases can mutate into oral cancer.
Maintaining good oral health and a strong immune system helps keep bacterial growth in control.
Endocarditis is an infection or inflammation of your heart chambers and valves’ inner lining.
While it may surprise you, a person develops endocarditis when bacteria enter the bloodstream through the digestive system, usually the mouth, and attaches themselves to the valves after entering the bloodstream during digestion.
Endocarditis is a rare and potentially fatal infection and can only be prevented through good oral hygiene.
When bacteria cause inflammation in the gums, the infected gums release harmful substances that can affect brain cells and reduce their capacity to store memory, resulting in dementia.
When you have excessive bacterial growth inside the mouth, the bacteria can potentially travel to your lungs, causing respiratory diseases like pneumonia, bronchitis, and other upper or lower respiratory tract infections.
While many infections are treatable with appropriate medication, if you do not maintain good dental health, the risks of recurrence of infections rise.
Diabetes and oral health are closely associated with each other. Deteriorating oral health may lead to diabetes, as gum diseases cause a spike in blood sugar levels. On the other hand, poor oral health itself is an indication of type-2 diabetes.
Effects of General Health Problems on Oral Well-Being
While poor dental health can lead to a range of health problems, certain underlying health concerns can also contribute to poor oral health. These include:
Diabetes is a major cause of tooth decay and poor oral health. Gum diseases are more frequent, long-term, and severe in patients with type-2 diabetes. Nearly 22% of diabetics suffer from periodontal diseases, and the percentage increases with age.
Osteoporosis is a disease that weakens bones, including teeth. Prolonged use of osteoporosis treatment drugs also leads to tooth loss and damages jaw bones.
Ways to Maintain Good Oral Health and Prevent Health Problems
To avoid lifelong and serious health conditions, it’s imperative to maintain good oral hygiene.
- Visit your dentist at least twice a year for a thorough checkup
- Brush your teeth 2-3 times every day, especially after every meal.
- Avoid using a hard brush as it can damage tooth enamel and cause gum infection
- Floss after meals
- Limit sugar intake and remove food particles
- Avoid substance abuse and smoking
- Brush along the gum line to wash away harmful bacteria
Oral health is directly linked to your overall well-being.
Maintaining good oral hygiene prevents you from developing gum diseases and keeps your mind and body healthy. However, many underlying health conditions may cause poor oral health.
If your dental health deteriorates despite taking the measures above, see your dentist and physician and get blood work done to rule out any potential causes.