How Oral Health Impacts Overall Wellness

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Did you know that the health of your teeth and gums provides insight about your overall health? Not only do good oral health habits protect your smile, but brushing and flossing might also have an impact on other aspects of your health as well.

The truth is that a dentist can see clues about your whole-body wellness by looking in your mouth. Not only do other health conditions increase the likelihood of dental complications, but problems in your mouth could increase the risk of other health issues.

How Does Oral Health Impact Overall Wellness?

Your mouth is a source of bacteria, and these organisms are typically harmless because systems are in place to manage them. But if an oral infection is left unchecked, then the bacteria can grow and move to other parts of the body – causing disease.

The best way to manage oral bacteria is through daily oral health habits, such as brushing and flossing regularly. When you are removing the buildup on your teeth, then it takes away the environment where the bacteria thrive. If plaque and tartar are left unchecked, then bacteria levels can increase and result in oral infections, including gum disease and tooth decay.

These oral infections take a toll on immune function because of the resources necessary to fight the infection. As the immune system is affected, it can also have a ripple effect on other aspects of your health. For example, oral health issues can result in chronic inflammation, which increases the likelihood of developing other serious diseases.

Health Problems Connected to Oral Health

There are various conditions that have been linked to oral health:

  • Heart Disease:Even though researchers don’t fully understand the connection, they are finding that gum disease increases the risk of heart disease. If bacteria spread from the mouth and through the bloodstream to the heart, then there is a higher risk of various types of cardiovascular disease, including endocarditis.
  • Diabetes:Blood sugar management issues make it harder for the body to fight infections, which means that having diabetes could make you more susceptible to gum disease. Part of your diabetes control plan should include frequent dental visits to monitor and treat gum disease as needed.
  • Pregnancy Complications:Women often have more oral health issues as their hormones change during pregnancy. At the same time, infections in the mouth could increase the likelihood of complications in the pregnancy. Researchers have found a link between gum disease and different birth complications, including low birth weight and premature birth.
  • Other Conditions:Researchers are continuing to make the connection between poor oral health and a variety of other health conditions, including HIV/AIDS, autoimmune conditions, Alzheimer’s disease, rheumatoid arthritis, certain types of cancer, osteoporosis, and more.

It can be a chicken-or-the-egg situation: it doesn’t matter if you are maintaining good oral health to improve overall wellness, or managing your wellness to reduce the risk of dental complications. The most important thing that you need to know is that the link between wellness and oral health exists – so it’s important to be proactive about your daily habits to protect both your smile and your overall wellness.

What are Some Common Oral Health Problems?

The more information you have about oral health problems, the more empowered you are to implement lifestyle changes that will maintain healthy teeth and gums. There’s no doubt that you will be happy to have a healthy smile that lasts a lifetime, while also reducing the risk of other serious medical conditions at the same time.

Some of the most common oral health problems are avoidable. These are a few of the problems that occur most often:

  • Tooth Decay:When bacteria are left on the surface of the teeth, it can start to break down the enamel and eat away at the tooth. Tooth decay, known as cavities, is one of the most common oral health problems in people of all ages. These issues must be treated quickly because they can lead to more serious infections and abscesses.
  • Gum Disease:The medical terminology for gum disease is periodontitis. This oral health condition happens when there is infection within the gums and around the teeth. Often, the earliest stages of gum disease go undetected because the symptoms are minor. But the irritation can continue to develop and result in more serious infections that can increase the likelihood of tooth loss and chronic health problems.
  • Oral Cancer:During your dental checkup, the dentist will look for any evidence of oral cancer. While this cancer isn’t as common as other types of cancers, it is still important to watch for signs and treat as soon as possible.

What Should I Do If I Have an Oral Health Problem?

If you are having problems with your teeth and gums, have confidence knowing that there are things you can do to improve your oral health and protect your overall wellness. Instead of assuming that you will always live with these conditions, talk to your dentist and ask: How can I improve my oral health?

The most important recommendations are based on the dental hygiene habits you are choosing daily:

  • Brush your teeth twice a day, for two minutes per session
  • Use fluoride toothpaste when brushing and a soft-bristled toothbrush
  • Floss at least once a day
  • Consider the use of mouthwash to help with managing bacteria
  • Avoid sugary foods because they can increase the risk of tooth decay
  • Don’t use any form of tobacco, including cigarettes, cigars, or chewing tobacco

It’s essential that you are visiting your dentist for regular checkups. These appointments can provide valuable information, including an early diagnosis if you have any oral health concerns. Diagnosing dental problems in the earliest stages is important to ensure optimal results from available treatment.

Is it time for your routine examination and dental cleaning? Then, we invite you to reach out to our office to book your appointment. We recommend maintaining these appointments every six months to protect your smile and overall wellness at the same time. Contact Cosmetic & Family Dentistry of Las Colinas to schedule your checkup and learn more about available dental services.