How Oral Health Affects Overall Health
Say hello to your constant companions that live inside your mouth! ⠀
Surprised? Your mouth hosts millions of bacteria, giving you a large number of friends and foes. Don’t despair, as some of these are healthy bacteria that help fight off gum disease and other dental problems. But, when the bad bacteria in your mouth outnumber the good ones, it increases the risk of dental problems. And since mouth is the entry point to your digestive and respiratory tracts, the bad bacteria can enter the bloodstream from the oral cavity and can cause various diseases.
HEALTH ISSUES CAUSED BY BAD ORAL HEALTH
Diabetes Gum diseases like periodontics can make it difficult to control diabetes. Gum diseases can lead to a raise in of blood sugar levels, so those with poor oral hygiene have an increased risk of developing diabetes. When blood sugar is high, it’s in the saliva too. Bacteria in plaque uses this sugar as food and can cause tooth decay and even tooth loss. (Source: cdc.gov)
Respiratory Infections Poor oral health can affect the respiratory system. We generally breath in germs which is natural. Our body’s immune system prevents bacteria from making us sick. But if the immune system is already damaged due to oral health issues, tissues in the lungs can become irritated and inflamed.
Bacteria in the mouth can be breathed into the lungs which can eventually cause respiratory infections and pneumonia. (Source: PubMed.gov) There are two ways by which bacteria from the oral cavity can enter the lungs. One is through the breath and the second we aspirate bacteria into the lungs. Tiny droplets of saliva can be breathed in and this saliva can hold bacteria.
Dementia Poor oral hygiene may affect the brain. Bacteria from infections in the oral cavity can travel to train and may lead to memory loss or damage brain cells. When bacteria from the mouth enters the bloodstream it may cause Alzheimer’s disease. (Source: webmd.com)
Pregnancy complications Hormonal changes in the body may result in oral infections among pregnant women and this might increase their risk of experiencing pregnancy complications. Pregnant women as well as the fetus is exposed to health risks due to poor oral hygiene. Bad oral health during pregnancy can cause premature delivery, low birth weight baby, preeclampsia and gum diseases.
Cardiovascular diseases Poor oral hygiene increases the risk of cardiovascular issues. Oral issues cause bacterial infection in the blood stream which can affect the heart values. (Source: mayoclinic.org) Bacteria that infects gums causing gingivitis and periodontitis may also travel to the blood vessels and cause blood vessel inflammation and tiny blood clots. (Source:health.harvard.edu)
HOW TO KEEP ORAL HEALTH AND OVERALL HEALTH BALANCED?
- Adapt a regular oral hygiene routine. Brush, Floss and Rinse with a Mouthwash twice every day. Brush before breakfast and rinse after.
- Clean the surface of your tongue every day with a tongue cleaner. This helps in removing bacteria from the surface of your tongue.
- Make healthy food choices. Crunchy fruit and vegetables contain high fibers and provides stimulation for your jaw. Avoid sugary and acidic foods as these tend to erode the teeth enamel and can lead to cavities, tooth decay and even tooth loss.
- Regular dental check-ups are necessary as it helps in keeping teeth and gums healthy.
- Dry mouth reduces the production of saliva and therefore, creates a breeding ground for bacteria, resulting in bad breath.
- Smokers are three to six times more likely to develop gum disease or periodontal disease, which can attack roots and cause teeth to fall out. So avoiding smoking would be beneficial to overall health.