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Mar 15, 2022 Why Is Oral Health So Important?

Good oral health is important to maintaining the longevity of your beautiful smile. If oral hygiene isn’t properly followed, it can be detrimental to both your smile and your body. The health of your teeth and gums play a key role in the health of your body. Whether that role is positive or negative all depends on several different factors.

Factors that Cause Poor Oral Health

While poor oral hygiene is the number one leading cause of tooth decay, gum disease, and other oral health concerns, it is not the only factor. Even individuals who diligently follow the most regimented oral hygiene routine can have poor oral health as a result of:

  • Poor nutrition
  • Failing to visit the dentist every six months
  • Family history of oral health conditions
  • Certain medications
  • Systemic health issues

Understanding the Mouth and Body Connection

In recent years, studies have shown that there is a direct correlation between the health of the mouth and body. As plaque and bacteria builds up on your teeth, it puts you at risk for gum infection. When this occurs, it sends a message to your immune system to start fighting the infection, causing the gums to become inflamed. If the infection isn’t treated immediately, inflammation will continue to spread throughout your gums and eventually result in gum disease. This chronic gum infection can damage both the soft and hard tissues in your mouth and lead to tooth loss and bone degeneration. As it progresses, the infection and inflammation will seep into your bloodstream and place you at risk for high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, and other serious systemic disorders.

Because the mouth is considered the window to what’s going on inside the body, medical professionals have taken a more holistic approach to treating patients, taking a closer look at the teeth, gums, medical history, and overall symptoms.

Oral Health and Respiratory Infections

When bacteria in the mouth is continually swallowed or breathed into the lungs, it can lead to throat and respiratory infections, such as pneumonia, COPD, and bronchitis. Oral Health and Autoimmune Disorders The connection between autoimmune disorders and oral health goes both ways. Patients diagnosed with diabetes are more prone to develop tooth decay and gum disease. In the same way, if gum disease is left unaddressed, as inflammation continues to increase and travel throughout the body, it places you at risk for diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, and Sjogren’s syndrome.

Oral Health and Cancer

Oral cancer is always a concern if you have poor health, especially if you smoke or use tobacco products. However, other types, such as pancreatic cancer, kidney cancer, and blood cancers have also been linked to gum disease. Oral Health and Heart Disease When bacteria penetrate the bloodstream, it can cause plaque to build up inside the arteries and harden. This will eventually lead to blockages and poor blood flow in the heart, resulting in hypertension, high blood pressure, stoke, or a heart attack. Heart disease can be a silent killer. Patients are often unaware they have it until a heart attack or stroke occurs. If you notice inflamed gums and are currently experiencing headaches, blurred vision, shortness of breath, dizziness, or chest pains, it is vital that you visit your doctor immediately. Oral Health and Pregnancy Hormonal fluctuations in women often occur during puberty, menstruation, and pregnancy. It is not uncommon for women to experience dental sensitivity or gum tenderness monthly or when pregnant. However, when a woman is pregnant and is suffering from oral health issues, it can put both the mother and baby at risk and even lead to low birth weight or premature birth. Because of this, it is vital that good oral hygiene is followed and if you notice any type of mouth pain or gum swelling that you visit the dentist for a checkup.

Tips for Maintaining Good Oral Hygiene

Following the below tips can help keep your teeth and body healthy:

  • Brush your teeth at least twice a day with a soft-bristled or electric toothbrush using proper techniques.
  • Floss daily.
  • Rinse with an approved antibacterial mouthwash.
  • Talk to your dentist and doctor about any of the symptoms you are currently experiencing.
  • List all the medications you are currently taking with your dentist so he or she can determine whether any of them may place you at risk for gum disease.
  • Visit the dentist every six months for routine cleanings and checkups. If you need a dentist, check out our preferred dental providers. (use hyperlink for Find a Dentist)

If you are considering obtaining a beautiful smile, please schedule your complimentary virtual consultation today. Our doctors and our team welcome children, teens, and adults alike. Call us today for an appointment!

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