Oral and Overall Health
What’s the connection between oral and overall health?
Like other parts of the body, your mouth is home to bacteria — mostly harmless. Your mouth is the entry point to your digestive and respiratory tracts, and some of these bacteria may cause diseases.
Your body’s natural defences and a good oral health routine, such as daily brushing and flossing, control bacteria.
However, when you don’t practice proper oral hygiene, bacteria can reach levels that can lead to oral infections, such as decay and periodontal disease.
Also, certain medications such as decongestants, antihistamines, painkillers, diuretics and antidepressants can reduce saliva flow.
Saliva rinses away food and neutralises acids produced by bacteria in the mouth, protecting you from microbes that multiply and lead to disease.
Oral bacteria and inflammation that comes with a severe form of gum disease play a role in some diseases.
Certain diseases, like diabetes and HIV/AIDS, can drop the body’s resistance to infection, making oral health problems more severe and difficult to handle.
Conditions Linked to Oral Health
Poor oral health contributes to serious diseases and health risks, such as:
Endocarditis. This infection of the inner lining of your heart chambers occurs when bacteria or other germs from another part of your body, such as your mouth, spread through the bloodstream and attach to certain areas in the heart.
Cardiovascular disease. Research suggests that heart disease, clogged arteries and stroke might be related to the inflammation and infections that oral bacteria can cause.
Pregnancy and birth complications. Periodontitis has been associated with premature birth and low birth weight.
Pneumonia. Certain bacteria in your mouth can go into your lungs, causing pneumonia and other respiratory tract diseases.
Certain health conditions might also affect your oral health, including:
- Diabetes. By reducing your body’s resistance to infection, diabetes puts your gums at risk. Periodontal disease is more frequent and severe among people who have diabetes. People who have periodontal disease have a harder time controlling their blood sugar levels. Thus, regular periodontal care can improve diabetes control.
- HIV/AIDS. Oral problems, like mucosal lesions, are commonly present in people who have HIV/AIDS.
- Osteoporosis. This bone-weakening disease is related to periodontal bone and tooth loss. Certain drugs that are used to treat osteoporosis carry a risk of damage to the bones of the jaw.
- Alzheimer’s disease. Worsened oral health is seen as Alzheimer’s disease progresses.
Other conditions that might be related to your oral health may include eating disorders, rheumatoid arthritis, cancers and an immune system disorder that prompts dry mouth, Sjogren’s syndrome.
Tell your Cheltenham dentist about the medications you currently take and about changes in your general health, especially if you’ve recently been ill or you have a chronic condition, like diabetes.
How can I protect my oral health?
To protect your oral health, practise proper oral hygiene daily.
- Brush your teeth at least two times a day with a soft-bristled brush and fluoride toothpaste.
- Floss daily.
- Use an antibacterial mouthwash to remove food particles left after brushing and flossing.
- Maintain a healthy diet and limit food with added sugars.
- Change your toothbrush every 3 months or sooner if bristles are worn or frayed.
- Visit your Cheltenham dentist for regular dental check-ups and cleanings.
- Avoid tobacco use.
Optimum Dental Care in Cheltenham
Dentist On Warrigal Cheltenham aims to promote optimum oral health to patients from Cheltenham and the surrounding areas.
Visit your dentist in Cheltenham to know more about your oral health condition and what we can do to improve it.
We are located at Suite C, 151 Centre Dandenong Road in Cheltenham.