Oral Health and Overall Health: How are the Two Interrelated?

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Dr. Manik Sharma

Oral health is more than pearly whites and fresh breath. Not many know that a healthy mouth leads to a healthy body. Studies have found that oral health can help in diagnosis of a host of other significant medical conditions. Let’s get into the details of how is your health affected by the condition of your mouth.

What is oral health?

Oral health is all about keeping the teeth and gums healthy by preventing bacterial growth. The bacteria in the mouth is healthy up to a certain extent, but if they exceed that limit, they can damage teeth and gums. Also, antibiotics, antidepressants, and strong medicines cause the acid levels of the saliva to go down and make the mouth more susceptible to infections and diseases.

Relationship between oral hygiene and oral health

Dental examination can lead to diagnosis of medical conditions and diseases such as:

Endocarditis and Cardiovascular Disease

Endocarditis infects endocardium, the inner lining of your heart. The oral bacteria attacks the vulnerable parts of your heart and leads to clogged arteries. This could in turn lead to strokes. Thus, oral infections can anticipate the possibility of a cardiovascular disease.  

Pregnancy and birth

Gingivitis can lead to Periodontitis. It is also associated with premature birth of babies and their low birth weight.

Asthma

Respiratory problems like asthma can be triggered due to bad oral health.

Diabetes

Diabetes lowers body’s immunity and makes it prone to infections. This could affect the health of teeth and gums. The direct connection of oral health with diabetes makes it harder for the people with affected blood sugar levels to control their gums. Regular periodontal care can be helpful in controlling diabetes and gum perils.

HIV/AIDS

Oral problems, like mucosal lesions are higher in people with HIV/AIDS.

Osteoporosis

Osteoporosis makes the bones weak and brittle. This may lead to conditions of periodontal bone loss or/and tooth loss. Thus, controlling the bone condition is imperative. Also, drugs that treat osteoporosis may damage the jaw bones.

Alzheimer’s

Alzheimer’s also makes oral health deteriorate. The disease can lead to memory loss in patients.

Oral health and overall health are interrelated. Therefore, if you are diagnosed with any of the above-listed conditions, head and neck cancer, rheumatoid arthritis, or Sjogren’s syndrome, it is imperative to inform your dentist.  

Ways of take care of oral health

  • Brush your teeth every day, two times in number, preferably with a fluoride toothpaste
  • Floss daily is recommended
  • Have healthy eating habits
  • Rinse mouth after each meal
  • Replace toothbrush in three to four months
  • Schedule regular dental checkups
  • Quit smoking and tobacco intake in any form

Final Words

Oral health is related to the well-being of the whole body. Though genetics play a critical role in oral health, it is not the sole reason for teeth and gums problems. Individuals must pay attention to oral hygiene to keep diseases at bay. Also, make sure you visit the dentist regularly as early diagnosis can increase the chances of treating or controlling the spread of the oral or other health problem.

Disclaimer: The content on HealthTime is for educational and informational purposes only. Do not consider this as medical advice. Use the content in consultation with a certified healthcare professional.

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