Oral Hygiene: A Window to Your Overall Health




You might find it hard to believe that having good oral health can have a significant effect on your overall health too. Bad oral hygiene can make you susceptible to life-threatening diseases like diabetes. On the other hand, good oral hygiene can have its benefits, like how it helps women have safer pregnancies.


Your mouth is like an entryway to the rest of your body, and often, it helps serve as a vantage point for detecting the early signs of systemic diseases that affect your entire body.


There are many different bacteria in our mouths, even when we are healthy. Usually, brushing and flossing can keep these bacteria under control to make sure they remain beneficial. However, if you don’t have good dental health, these harmful bacteria can get out of control. These can then cause oral infections like gum diseases and tooth decay. Research shows that the bacteria associated with these infections can also have links to other diseases.


Conditions Caused by Oral Health

Endocarditis


This is an infection that affects the inner lining of your heart’s chambers, called the endocardium. This occurs when bacteria from other parts of your body, such as your mouth, enter the bloodstream and attach themselves to certain parts of the heart.


Cardiovascular Disease

Although research has not been able to pinpoint the connection yet, evidence shows that some heart diseases, clogged arteries, and even strokes may be linked to the inflammation caused by oral bacteria.


Pneumonia

Some bacteria in your mouth can enter your lungs and cause pneumonia.


Pregnancy Complications

Inflammation of the gums in periodontitis is shown to have connections to premature birth and even low birth.


Conditions That Affect Oral Health Diabetes

Diabetes lowers the body’s resistance to infection, which puts your gums at risk. Gum disease is seen more commonly in people who are diabetic.


HIV

People who have AIDS or HIV also commonly have oral problems.


Osteoporosis

The medicines used to treat osteoporosis may carry the risk of damaging the jawbones, which makes it linked to tooth loss and periodontal bone loss.


Alzheimer’s

Alzheimer’s patients usually have progressively worsening oral health.

Because oral health can cause and be affected by several other conditions, it is often a helpful starting point when trying to measure the overall health as well. In fact, oral infections are not the only part of oral hygiene that offer a good perspective. Saliva flow is also a good indicator of a person’s health. Saliva is slightly alkaline, which neutralizes the acids produced by the bacteria and helps to wash away the food to avoid providing the bacteria with a breeding ground.


Certain medications reduce saliva flow as a side effect, such as antihistamines, diuretics, and antidepressants. These medications can weaken the saliva’s ability to protect you from the bacteria in your mouth.


Thus, oral hygiene is extremely important, and you should make sure to take care of your teeth by brushing and flossing as well as by maintaining a healthy diet.

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