December 22, 2021
Dental work is never fun but is necessary for overall health. This is because our mouths’ oral cavity is home to various bacterial microbes that can cause a host of health issues, from tooth and gum decay to heart disease and more.
Brushing and flossing are basic care, but regular dental cleanings and maintenance are crucial to healthy living. To live healthy means taking care of the entire self, the body, and mind, and dental health is often overlooked in improved personal healthcare.
As the mouth is the first stage of digestion, taking care of your teeth and gums is critical. In other words, good oral hygiene is the first step toward overall health. People avoid going to the dentist for various reasons, but the truth of poor oral hygiene and health can be a leading cause of other health issues.
Conditions Related To Poor Oral Health
Most of the bacteria in the mouth are harmless and vital in the process of digestion. For example, bacteria in the mouth helps break down food particles, but the bacteria will continue to grow without being washed away.
Over time this excess of bacteria can start to eat away at the enamel of the teeth causing cavities and other issues.
Saliva’s primary role in the mouth is to aid in digestion and wash away remnants of bacteria. However, some medications may hinder the development of saliva in the mouth, which compounds the presence of bacteria in the mouth.
Additionally, certain medical conditions such as HIV/AIDS and Diabetes can adversely impact the mouth and body, increasing the chance of infection and making oral health more difficult.
Some of the more common disorders and issues related to poor oral health include:
Endocarditis: When bacteria from other parts of the body, in this case, the mouth, enter the bloodstream and attach themselves to other areas and organs, it can cause severe health issues such as Endocarditis. This is a condition of weakened heart valves and inflammation of the heart’s lining.
Cardiovascular Disease: Some research shows that poor oral health contributes to and exacerbates heart disease, plaque, and the potential for strokes.
Pneumonia: Bacteria in the mouth can be pulled into the lungs causing bronchial and pneumonic infection leading to severe respiratory issues.
Pregnancy Complications: Peridontitis, a severe form of gum disease, has negatively impacted pregnancy with a more significant percentage of premature and lower birth weight.
Additional health risks associated with poor oral health include:
Diabetes: Diabetes is a degenerative disease that inhibits the sufferer’s immune system. Oral infections and gum disease can be a byproduct of the disease, making tooth and gum decay a significant concern.
HIV/AIDS: Painful lesions in the mucus of people living with HIV/AIDS are byproducts of poor oral health.
Osteoporosis: This bone-weakening disease can wreak havoc on the bones throughout the body, including the jaw, and destroy teeth as well.
Proper Oral Healthcare
At the most basic level taking care of your oral health includes diet, brushing, flossing, and rinsing your teeth and mouth.
The proper dental and oral care for adults is a combination of daily maintenance and routine dental exams.
• Brush Daily: It’s recommended to brush at least twice a day with a medium to soft bristle brush and fluoride toothpaste.
• Floss After Brushing: Flossing helps get food and other particles left behind and between teeth and gums once brushing has occurred.
• Mouth Wash: A mouthwash will help rinse the food particles and bacteria left behind after proper brushing and flossing.
• Diet: Limit sugary foods and drinks that bacteria are attracted to as well as can impact your overall health (also helps alleviate weight gain, obesity, diabetes, heart disease)
• Limit Alcohol and Tobacco Use: Alcohol is loaded with sugars, and tobacco is known to cause severe issues to gum health.
• Regular Dental Examinations: Schedule a dental examination and cleanings at the recommended time from your dentist.
Sometimes issues with oral health can lead to more significant problems, but in general, it’s a good idea to visit your dentist any time you have:
• Red swollen gums
• Gums that bleed when brushed or flossed
• Receding gum lines
• Loosening permanent teeth
• Unusual sensitivity, especially to hot or cold
• Persistent bad breath
In worst-case situations, cavities may need to be drilled, root canals may need to be done, and crowns may need to be fixed. Still worse, there may be whole gum disease leading to tooth loss, at which point dentures may be required, which can be costly. An alternative is 3D-printed teeth, which replace traditional dentures at a fraction of the cost.
Getting dental work done is uncomfortable and may be costly. However, more costly still allows oral health to degenerate and impact overall health and wellness, further impacting the quality of life you can expect.
Therefore, oral health is a preventable health concern and should be something taken more seriously as if your health depends upon it.