Your oral health has a significant impact on your overall health, but a lot of people do not know this. Ignoring oral health puts your general health at risk because of bad oral hygiene habits.
How does poor oral hygiene put you at risk of general health problems?
Poor oral hygiene puts you at risk of general health problems because your mouth contains a lot of bacteria. Most of this bacteria get removed if you brush your teeth at least two times a day and floss regularly. If you do not practice good oral hygiene, the bacteria will increase to levels that can cause oral infections and gum disease. This will lead to bigger general health problems.
If you practice good oral hygiene, then taking medications like diuretics, decongestants, antidepressants, antihistamines and painkillers can lead to oral disease. This is because they can reduce the flow of saliva. Saliva neutralizes the acids that form in your mouth and washes the food particles in your mouth. This prevents the overgrowth of bacteria that can lead to oral disease.
According to research, inflammation and oral bacteria are associated with periodontitis, a severe gum disease that has been liked to general health problems. People with diabetes and HIV/AIDS are at risk of more severe health problems because the diseases weaken their resistance to infection.
The most common health issues that have been linked to poor oral health include:
- Cardiovascular disease: When bacteria is left unchecked in your mouth, it spreads through your bloodstream. When the bacteria gets into your bloodstream, they attach themselves to damaged parts. This causes inflammation that leads to cardiovascular disease
- Pregnancy: The gum disease known as periodontitis has been linked to low birth weight and premature birth. This means women who have gum disease are more at risk of complications during pregnancy
- Oral cancer: If you do not take proper care of your mouth, you put yourself at risk of getting oral cancer, especially if you smoke cigarettes or use other tobacco products. The chemicals in the tobacco products are harmful to your gums and also increase your chances of having cancer
- Osteoporosis: This is a disease that weakens your bones and it is also linked to periodontitis. Your chances of having osteoporosis increases if you suffered tooth loss as a result of gum disease
How can dentists pick up on the health indicators?
Your dentist will notice indicators of oral and general health problems during your dental exam. Even though your dentist also performs an oral cancer check during the examination, you can request a cancer screening for a more thorough examination.
What can I do to protect myself from health problems?
The most important thing you can do to protect yourself is to practice good oral hygiene. This means brushing at least twice every day and flossing after you brush. You should also schedule regular appointments with your dentist if you want to avoid more serious issues down the line.
Your oral health is directly related to your general health, which is why you should practice good oral hygiene. If you need more tips on how to properly take care of your mouth, ask your dentist for advice on how to practice good oral hygiene.
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