We’ve posted about this before, but cannot over-stress the importance of the connection between your dental health and your general health. No part of the body functions in isolation – everything is connected. So it should come as no surprise that the health of your mouth affects the health of the rest of your body. And, maintaining your oral health helps to preserve your overall health and well-being.
Beginning with the basics, proper brushing and flossing, in conjunction with regular dental cleanings and checkups, help to control the level of harmful bacteria in your mouth. Certain bacteria, if left unchecked, can cause cavities and periodontal disease and contribute to more serious health problems such as heart disease, stroke and clogged arteries. The mouth is a gateway to the body, and bacteria in the mouth can enter the bloodstream and travel throughout the body triggering inflammation or infection. Dental examinations help to reveal some of these underlying health issues as dentists are trained to recognize the signs and symptoms which are displayed in the head, neck, mouth and throat. Proper examinations are true oral medicine, and the best dentists are excellent diagnosticians – they love to figure out what’s going on and why.
Not only can your oral health affect the health of the rest of your body, but there are medical conditions that can affect your oral health. For example, those with diabetes have a higher risk of developing infections. Gum disease is a bacterial infection which can more easily get out of control in a diabetic patient, especially one whose blood sugar is not controlled. Also, unbalanced hormone levels during pregnancy commonly result in gingivitis which, in turn, increases the risks of low-birth weight and premature births.
The oral-body connection is a two-way street. Oral health affects your overall health and wellness including the immune system, which helps to protect the health of your mouth, teeth, and gums. Proper brushing and flossing along with professional cleanings and checkups preserves your healthy smile and is an integral part of your optimum health equation. Eating good foods, maintaining your weight, exercising regularly, and living a happy life are fundamental factors of the equation as well. Prevention is key – all maladies are more easily healed when discovered early. Living a healthy lifestyle becomes more popular every year among aging baby-boomers as well as vibrant 20-somethings. All it takes is a little knowledge, a little discipline, and a little desire!