Your dental health is more important than you may realize, since it can actually give you clues about your overall health. Problems in your mouth can affect the rest of your body; therefore it’s important to understand the impact your dental health can have on the overall health of your body and what you can do to maximize your well-being.
The human mouth contains many bacteria, and your body’s defenses along with good dental care, such as brushing your teeth twice a day and flossing, help keep these bacteria under control. However, without the right dental care, bacteria can cause oral infections, gum disease, and tooth decay.
In fact, gum disease, or periodontitis, may be a sign of other health issues. Studies have shown that bacteria in the mouth and inflammation caused by gum disease might play a role in some diseases. The American Heart Association published a Statement in 2012 that supports an association between gum disease and heart disease. A Harvard University School of Public Health study done in 2007 showed a connection between advanced gum disease in men and pancreatic cancer. Researchers have also found that men with gum disease were more likely to develop kidney cancer and blood cancers.
Gum disease could also play a role in respiratory health. The American Academy of Periodontology states research has found that bacteria in the mouth can be spread into the lungs and cause illnesses such as pneumonia. People with gum disease are at even greater risk for this.
Even your stress level can impact your dental health. Stress can decrease the amount of saliva our mouths produce. This can increases your risk for gum disease and tooth decay. Stress also leads to habits like teeth clenching and grinding, which can cause damage to your teeth, jaw and any previous dental work.
By implementing good and consistent oral hygiene habits, such as flossing daily and brushing your teeth twice a day, you can reverse the signs of gum disease and keep your dental and overall health in check. You can also maintain your oral and overall health through a balanced, nutritious diet and a regular exercise routine. Even managing your stress levels can help keep your dental health and physical health under control. These habits coupled with a bi-annual visit to your dentist will help you stay on top of any dental and other physical health issues you might face.