How dental health affects overall health ? Maintaining good oral hygiene is beneficial for total body health. Good oral hygiene keeps your teeth stronger until old age, helps in getting rid of bad breath and gum diseases. Moreover, researchers have proved that apart from poor oral health, poor oral hygiene is also the cause of heart attack, poor control of diabetes, and preterm labor. Therefore, when visiting a dentist, one must realize that maintaining good oral health comprises more than just a reward for a beautiful smile.
Connection between oral health and overall body health:
The mouth is like a window through which everything finds its way inside the body. Often many diseases present their initial symptoms as oral lesions. For example, in AIDS or diabetes, mouth lesions or other oral problems are first to appear. Moreover, the Academy of General Dentistry suggests that more than 90% of all systemic diseases produce oral signs and symptoms. This states that if you find something unusual happening in your mouth, it is an alarm for checkup.
Moreover, the quality of oral secretions such as saliva is helpful to determine the health of a body. It can be seen that a swab of saliva helps in detecting various processes occurring in a body. For example, a stress response in a newborn can be checked by the cortisol levels in his/her saliva. Protein in saliva can be used to monitor bone loss occurred due to osteoporosis. Also, salivary swab helps in detecting and measuring illegal drug use, environmental toxins, hormones, and antibodies indicating hepatitis or HIV infection. Unarguably Everyone, in the recent days of this pandemic, has seen how a salivary swab became a useful diagnostic tool in the detection of novel Coronavirus (Covid-19) in the body.
Apart from saliva acting as a diagnostic tool for various diseases, many negative health problems are linked to oral health in different ways. Some of them are heart disease, diabetes, gum disease, tooth loss, bad breath, dental decay, lung conditions, strokes.
How dental health affects overall health
1) Periodontitis and Diabetes:
Periodontitis is something that everyone would want to avoid because it is very painful and can lead to tooth loss. This is a severe gum disease resulting from chronic inflammation.
Unfortunately, a close relationship exists between periodontitis and diabetes.
The American Dental Association reports that 1 in 5 cases of total tooth loss is linked to diabetes. People with diabetes have twice the risk of developing a gum disease compared to non-diabetic. This is because there is a decrease in the immunity towards infections, therefore, the body is unable to fight the bacteria in the mouth which further causes the disease.
People suffering from uncontrolled diabetes may suffer from:
Dry mouth, more risk of cavities because of less salivary secretion, inflamed and bleeding gums, difficulty in tasting the food, delayed wound healing, more susceptible to infections.
2) Oral health and heart diseases/stroke:
Research says that periodontitis and heart disease are also connected. 90% of people with heart disease also have periodontitis. Some studies also suggest that gingivitis which is oral inflammation due to bacteria in the mouth is responsible for the blood clots in arteries.
It is clear at many places that a healthy heart stands for a healthy mouth.
3) Oral health and Pregnancy:
Oral health is also connected to the pregnancy. Studies relate a link between periodontal disease in pregnant females to the risk of premature birth or birth of low weight babies. Both premature and low birth weight babies are susceptible to many health problems and premature death.
4) Oral health and Smoking:
The oral health of smokers is of great concern compared to that of non-smokers. Smokers are 4 times more likely to develop oral health issues. Some of them are listed here as gum diseases, tooth discoloration, inflamed salivary gland, bad breath, leukoplakia (white patches inside the mouth), Oral cancer, increased plaque/tartar, bone loss in the jaw.
The oral diseases that occurs because of smoking, have systemic manifestations too. For example, oral cancer has potential of spreading to different areas and take a malignant path leading to fatality.
5) Oral health and Alzheimer’s disease:
Studies suggests that when tooth loss occur before the age of 35, it can be an early sign of Alzheimer’s. 30% of adults that are over 60 and who are diagnosed with this condition lose all teeth.
This is believed to happen by the bacterial invasion in the brain. The bacteria that are normally found in the oral cavities, enters the blood stream through chewing, eating or other daily activities, or because of the invasive dental treatment. According to the researchers, each time the bacteria enter the brain, it potentially triggers the immune system responses which results in the release of certain chemicals that are capable of killing the neurons, which is responsible for causing the symptoms of Alzheimer’s.
Finally, after discussing so many links between the oral health and overall body health, we have enough good reasons for taking care of our mouth, teeth and gums. Practicing good oral hygiene every day is putting an effort in advancing not only the oral health but total body health.
Oral health education helps you fully understand the importance of maintaining excellent at-home dental hygiene practices.
1) Brush teeth twice daily.
2) Brush for 2 minutes when brushing
3) Floss between teeth daily.
And finally, visit your dentist regularly for check-ups.