Your Oral Health is Connected to Your Overall Health
Taking care of your oral hygiene and health should be a regular part of anyone’s daily routine. Many people do not truly grasp how important maintaining your oral health truly is. The health of your mouth plays an essential role in your overall health and well-being. If you don’t take the proper care of your mouth, you will not only be at risk of developing cavities and gum disease but can also heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and more. This is why it is so important to recognize any oral health issues you come across.
Oral Health Facts
It is virtually impossible to ever find someone that has never had a mouth full of teeth. Because of this, there are plenty of facts and information about general oral health and hygiene. In fact, the World Health Organization (WHO) has stated that:
- 60-90% of school children have had at least one cavity
- Nearly all adults have had one cavity
- In adults ages 35-44, up to 20% of them have severe gum disease
- In most countries in the world, oral cancer is reported in 4 of 100,000 people.
It is extremely likely that you will experience some form of dental or oral conditions at some point in your life. However, even though the chances of developing some oral conditions are high, an estimated 100 million Americans do not visit a dentist on a yearly basis, according to the American Dental Association (ADA). This is extremely alarming as the human mouth is teeming with bacteria. While most of them are harmless, some bacteria are not, and a buildup can be detrimental. Without proper oral care, your mouth can contract:
Oral Health’s Link to General Health
Your mouth is full of bacteria that is harmless and in place to help your body digest much of its food. It is the first entry point for your digestive and respiratory tracts, and sometimes it allows bacteria that are harmful to make its way into your body.
With regular oral care and your body’s natural defenses, these bacteria can be kept under control. However, without proper oral care, your body’s defenses can only do so much, leading to bacteria to reach harmful levels. These levels can rise to cause inflammation in your mouth, but these germs can also lead to other issues that affect your overall health such as:
- Heart Disease
- Endocarditis – inflammation of the heart’s inner lining
- Pregnancy and Birth Complications
Preexisting conditions like diabetes, HIV, osteoporosis, and more can affect your oral health and cause future conditions to develop.
Signs of Oral Health Issues
The health of your mouth is strongly tied to the overall health of your body, so it is crucial that you do not ignore the signs of any disease or condition developing. While they are only affecting your mouth at the moment, they can cause further problems elsewhere in your body if they are not dealt with. Here are a few signs and symptoms to keep an eye out for before conditions worsen:
- Ulcers, sores, or wounds in your mouth that don’t heal after a few weeks
- Bleeding or swollen gums during brushing or flossing
- Halitosis (bad breath)
- Extreme sensitivity
- Receding gums
- Frequent dry mouth
- Swelling in the face, cheeks, or jaw
It is important to stay vigilant for any of these symptoms. If they are accompanied by a fever or swelling in the neck, you should immediately seek emergency medical treatment. If the symptoms have not gotten too severe, yet they still persist, you should visit your dentist as soon as possible.
It is fairly easy to prevent your oral health from declining and to protect yourself. With proper oral care, you will not only be saving the health of your mouth but also your body. Here are a few ways to prevent any issues with your oral health:
- Use a soft-bristled toothbrush to brush your teeth twice daily or after every meal
- Floss daily
- Use mouthwash to clear remaining food particles from your mouth your toothbrush missed
- Eat a healthy diet with as little sugar as possible
- Replace your toothbrush every three months
- Avoid tobacco use entirely
- Schedule regular dental checkups and cleanings
It is recommended to visit your dentist at least twice a year for a checkup and cleaning. This will allow them to give your mouth a much deeper clean than you can yourself and to monitor your overall oral health.
Maintaining your oral hygiene is a relatively simple task that does not take great effort. By properly taking care of your mouth, you will not only prevent the development of oral diseases but also conditions elsewhere in your body. Be sure to recognize the signs of any issues in your oral health as well as be aware of the proper ways to clean and protect your mouth. Cosmetic & Family Dentistry of Las Colinas is staffed with a brilliant team of dental and oral experts who can help you protect your dental and overall health.