While we all understand that our oral health is linked to the well-being of our teeth and gums, it’s actually a lot more important than many of us realise. In fact, the condition of your gums, teeth, and mouth can impact various aspects of your general health while providing clues about how healthy the rest of your body is. So, with that in mind, let’s take a look at some of the connections between your oral and general health that you need to be aware of.
The connection between your oral and general health
As is the case with all aspects of your body, your mouth is home to high levels of bacteria, most of which are harmless. However, as the entry point to your respiratory and digestive tracts, some of the bacteria within your mouth can lead to disease, infection, and other harmful conditions. Helpfully, the body’s immune system and regular brushing and flossing can keep most infections at bay, but without proper oral hygiene, you’re much more susceptible to oral infections that can lead to tooth decay and gum disease.
Another thing to be mindful of is that a range of medications – antidepressants, painkillers, and decongestants, for instance – can reduce the flow of saliva, which is crucial when it comes to neutralising acid in the mouth, protecting you from disease. What’s more, some diseases – like diabetes – can reduce the body’s resistance to infection, which can make oral health problems more complex and debilitating.
Conditions that can be linked to oral health
Although every person is different, a number of infections, conditions, and diseases can be linked to oral hygiene, including:
- Endocarditis – This is an infection of the inner lining of your heart chambers that can cause significant circulatory issues.
- Cardiovascular disease – It’s thought that clogged arteries and the risk of stroke could be linked to oral bacteria, although further research is required to say definitively.
- Pneumonia – Some bacteria in your mouth can enter your lungs, which may lead to pneumonia and other severe respiratory conditions.
On the flip side, a number of diseases and infections are thought to affect your oral health and oral hygiene, including diabetes, HIV/AIDS, osteoporosis, and Alzheimer’s Disease. If you have any of these conditions, it’s important to inform your dentist in advance so they can establish the best course of treatment and care.
How to protect your oral health
Thankfully, there are a number of things you can do to protect your oral health, which contributes to your general health and well-being. You should:
- Floss daily, brush your teeth twice daily, and use an antibacterial mouthwash.
- Eat a healthy diet and limit your sugar intake.
- Avoid tobacco and excessive alcohol consumption.
- Schedule regular checkups and cleanings with a dentist and hygienist.
Given the connection between your oral and general health, the condition of your gums, mouth, and teeth isn’t something you should leave up to chance. If you’re looking for a highly-rated dentist in London to improve your oral health, reach out to the team at Pure Smiles today and book an initial consultation.