Imagine you are someone who only takes your car to the shop when it absolutely cannot function any longer. Chances are, this will be costly for you because making an unannounced visit to the auto-mechanic is expensive. It’s likely that you already know, though, that this would eventually result in more serious problems with your car since small issues will go unresolved.
The same principle applies to oral health, except the consequences are far worse than simply paying more for repairs down the road. Poor oral hygiene can actually endanger your life and lead to potentially deadly diseases. That’s why it’s so important to maintain good habits and see your dentist regularly for professional cleanings and checkups.
Connection Between Oral Health and Overall Health
People with higher risks of health problems are more likely to develop gum disease. This includes people who smoke, diabetics, or those that have recently had a heart attack. People over the age of 65 are also at greater risk because their bodies do not heal as quickly, and various illnesses can compromise immune systems.
If you think it’s okay to delay your dental care until you feel pain or notice serious damage in your mouth, think again. Even if you feel absolutely no discomfort, early signs of gum disease will start revealing themselves in the form of pinkish-red patches along your gums, receding gums (they appear shorter than normal), sore spots on your gums, or yellowish stains on your teeth that won’t go away.
These symptoms should never be ignored because they are a red flag that you have an infection that, if left untreated, will worsen quickly and result in much more serious health problems.
What Conditions Can Be Linked to Oral Health?
Here are the most common health issues that can be linked to oral health:
People with periodontal disease are almost twice as likely to develop heart disease than people who do not have gum disease. This is because there appears to be a link between the body’s hormonal regulation and immune response in people who suffer from poor oral health.
This can cause inflammation to occur elsewhere in the body, leading to serious medical problems like heart attacks, strokes, and much more.
As mentioned earlier, people with an unhealthy mouth are very likely to experience worse health problems down the road that could lead to deadly diseases like stroke or heart attack.
According to research, men who neglected their teeth are more at risk of having a stroke than women. Researchers cannot yet explain why, but they believe it is linked to hormonal factors and the conditions that oral bacteria can cause in the body.
People with diabetes are more likely to develop periodontal disease. This is because diabetics often experience a compromised immune system, which leaves people at a greater risk of getting a mouth infection or disease.
Type II diabetics who have experienced significant weight loss due to medical treatment will also be at much higher risk for gum disease because their bodies do not produce enough insulin to clean out harmful plaque from around teeth.
Ways to Improve Oral Health
Now you understand why good oral health habits are so important, but what exactly should you do?
1. Brush and floss your teeth at least twice a day. If you feel as if you don’t have time to clean your teeth after every meal, then just brush your teeth before bed.
2. Be sure to cut back on how much sugary food and drinks you consume because this only leads to tooth decay.
3. Drink plenty of water throughout the day to keep your mouth hydrated and rinse with water after meals or drinks that contain sugar.
4. Visit the dental clinic for checkups and cleanings at least twice per year.
5. See your doctor more regularly if you have diabetes.
6. If you smoke, consider quitting because this puts you at a much higher risk for gum disease and various health problems.
7. Visit a doctor if you notice any red, swollen, or painful areas around your mouth. This may mean that there is an infection, and they can prescribe antibiotics to clear it up quickly.
As you can see, it is very important to keep an eye on your oral health as a way of preventing the disease from taking over the rest of your body. It’s worth noting that even if you already have gum disease or any other illness, good oral health habits will improve your overall health tremendously and reduce the severity of many common conditions, such as heart attack and stroke.