Oral health and overall wellness are closely related. Your mouth is a gateway to your body, and your oral health can impact your overall health and well-being. Research shows that poor oral health can increase the risk of developing several chronic diseases, such as heart disease, diabetes, and respiratory infections.
Like the rest of your body, the mouth is full of bacteria, most of which are harmless. However, poor oral hygiene can allow harmful bacteria to thrive and cause tooth decay, gum disease, and bad breath. When harmful bacteria spread from the mouth to other parts of the body, they can cause inflammation and damage to tissues and organs. This can lead to a variety of health problems.
Studies have found that gum disease is associated with an increased risk of heart disease and stroke. The bacteria that cause gum disease can enter the bloodstream and contribute to the development of atherosclerosis, a condition where the arteries become clogged with fatty deposits.
People with diabetes are more likely to develop gum disease. In addition, gum disease can make it harder to control blood sugar levels. This can lead to a vicious cycle where poor oral health exacerbates diabetes. This, in turn, worsens oral health.
Another potential health concern with poor oral health is respiratory infections. You can breathe the bacteria in your mouth into your lungs and cause illnesses like pneumonia. This is particularly a concern for people with weakened immune systems, such as the elderly or those with chronic respiratory diseases.
Pregnant women with gum disease are more likely to give birth prematurely or have low birth weight babies. The bacteria that cause gum disease can enter the bloodstream and trigger an inflammatory response that can interfere with the development of the fetus.
Maintaining good oral hygiene is essential for maintaining overall health and well-being.
How Can You Boost Your Oral Health?
One of the easiest ways that you can improve your oral health is to brush and floss your teeth regularly. Most dentists recommend brushing your teeth at least twice a day and flossing daily. This routine can help remove plaque and prevent the buildup of harmful bacteria.
You may not realize it, but your diet can impact your oral health. Eating a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains can help promote oral health and prevent tooth decay.
Sometimes, your lifestyle habits can negatively impact your oral health. For example, people who smoke or regularly consume alcohol have a higher chance of poor dental health than others. In fact, smoking is a major risk factor for gum disease and oral cancer.
Visiting your dentist regularly can also benefit your oral health. When you go to your regular dental checkups, it allows your dental team to detect and treat oral health problems before they become more serious.