Your oral health is more important than you might realize. It is important to know the facts about how the health of your mouth, teeth and gums can affect your general health.
Did you know that problems in your mouth can affect the rest of your body? Like many areas of the body, your mouth contains a lot of bacteria, which are mostly harmless. Normally, your body’s immune system and good oral hygiene care at home, such as daily brushing and flossing, can keep these bacteria under control. However, without proper oral hygiene, bacteria can reach levels that might lead to infections, such as tooth decay and gum disease.
In addition, medications such as decongestants, antihistamines, painkillers and diuretics — can reduce saliva flow. Because saliva washes away food and neutralizes acids produced by bacteria in the mouth, this reduction in saliva flow can lead to an increase of bacteria which can, in turn, lead to disease. Studies also suggest that oral bacteria and the inflammation associated with gum disease might play a role in other diseases. Certain diseases, such as diabetes and HIV/AIDS, can lower the body’s ability to fight infection, making oral health problems more severe. Your oral health might contribute to various other diseases and conditions, including:
- Cardiovascular disease. Some research suggests that heart disease, clogged arteries and stroke might be linked to the inflammation and infections that oral bacteria can cause.
- Pregnancy and birth. Gum disease has been linked to premature birth and low birth weight.
- Diabetes. Diabetes reduces the body’s resistance to infection which can be risky for gums.
- Osteoporosis. Weak and brittle bones might be linked with periodontal bone loss and tooth loss.
- Alzheimer’s disease. Tooth loss before age 35 might be a risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease.
- Other conditions. Other conditions that might be connected to oral health are immune system disorders that cause dry mouth and eating disorders.
To protect your oral health:
- Brush your teeth at least twice a day.
- Floss daily.
- Eat a healthy diet and limit between-meal snacks.
- Replace your toothbrush every three to four months or sooner.
- Schedule regular dental checkups.
Also, contact your dentist as soon as an oral health problem arises. Remember, taking care of your oral health is an investment in your overall health.
Dr. Kelly B. Wettstein owns Affinity Dental on the SE corner of Ocotillo & Rittenhouse Rd, 21321 E. Ocotillo Rd #130, Queen Creek, AZ. He has been practicing for 10 years and happily sees patients of all ages. Call (480) 882-2300, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the Affinity Dental website at www.AffinityDentalAZ.com. Affinity Dental is pleased to provide a $50 Visa Gift Card when you schedule 2 or more of your family members for their initial exam, x-rays and cleaning! Affinity Dental also accepts most insurances, has convenient hours, and a variety of wonderful amenities to provide you with a soothing and compassionate dental experience.