It’s always nice to see a shining smile, but your pearly whites are not important only for aesthetic reasons. Believe it or not, but oral health issues can affect your overall health which means that cavities or gum disease can develop into something much more serious. It may come as a shock, but your (and everybody else’s) mouth is brimming with bacteria, which is why getting rid of them efficiently should be one of your primary concerns. Brushing and flossing are the first and basic steps towards keeping your teeth and gums healthy, but regular dental checkups are crucial, so make sure to take good care of your teeth because that’s how you also invest in your general health.
Put your money where your mouth is
Many people avoid their dentist appointments mainly because they think that there’s no need to subject themselves to that ordeal unless there’s a problem such as a toothache or gum bleeding, but at that point, it might already be too late to prevent complications. However, during a routine dental checkup, a dentist might notice some warning signs that reveal the presence of an underlying disease. For example, gum disease is associated with heart disease, diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, dementia, and even respiratory infections. The problem lies in the fact that more than 700 types of bacteria live in the oral cavity, and they practically feed on the sugars from the food we eat and their level rises without proper hygiene. The oral microbiota, which is a scientific name for the bacteria in the mouth, can be pathogenic and lead to a series of health issues.
It’s all connected
Various organ systems in the human body are mutually connected. In this case, this means that the bacteria developed as a result of gum inflammation can enter the bloodstream and reach arteries. When this happens, they wreak havoc by producing plaque on the inner walls, thus blocking the blood flow. It can increase the risk of a heart attack and stroke. Similarly, the bacteria resulting from gingivitis can worm their way into the brain through nerve channels in the head, and cause dementia or even contribute to the development of Alzheimer’s disease. It’s clear that looking after your teeth is extremely important in order to prevent various serious conditions. However, sometimes it’s not enough simply to perform your daily oral care routine as there are some obstacles that make it difficult to clean your teeth properly. For example, orthodontic braces used for teeth straightening treatment can lead to plaque buildup, and subsequently, to tooth decay because brushing becomes more complicated and food particles tend to get stuck between your teeth and brackets. That’s why the winner of the invisalign vs braces comparison is the former option because these virtually invisible aligners are removable which ensures impeccable oral hygiene.
Common risk factors
Just like for any other disease, there are several prominent risk factors that are responsible for oral disease, which is one of the most widespread chronic diseases. Apart from the above-mentioned poor oral hygiene, other factors can’t be easily put under control. Namely, certain medications such as painkillers, diuretics, decongestants, and antidepressants can reduce the production of saliva, and this watery substance flushes food particles, neutralizes the acid produced by the bacteria in the mouth, and improves the oral hygiene naturally. Other risk factors include an unhealthy diet full of carbs and greasy food, smoking, alcohol, and stress. It’s obvious that all these risk factors are the same as for other chronic diseases, and it’s important to notice that by eliminating just one factor, you can reduce the likelihood of being affected by several diseases. Finally, a weakened immune system can also be the culprit behind some severe oral issues, which is why people with HIV/AIDS or diabetes can suffer from periodontitis brought on by the collapse of the body’s natural defense mechanisms.
Poor oral health is both a signal that there’s something wrong in the body and at the same time a risk factor for developing a string of other serious diseases, which is why you should take your teeth seriously.