You know the steps for keeping your teeth healthy. You need to brush, floss, and make sure you get to your dentist for those checkups and cleanings. While you already know how important your oral health is, you may not realize that your dental health is tied to your overall health, too.
Dental Health and Overall Health
What’s the main connection between your dental health and your overall health? Oral bacteria. Your mouth is full of bacteria, which is normal, and routine oral hygiene practices and your body’s immune system works to control bacteria growth in the mouth. However, lack of good oral hygiene can allow that oral bacteria to multiply until the overgrowth is resulting in tooth decay, gum disease, and other types of oral infections.
Unfortunately, that oral bacteria and the inflammation that can come along with gum disease is linked to a greater risk of certain health problems. Certain diseases may lower the body’s ability to resist infections as well, which can result in oral health problems. There’s no doubt – your dental health and oral health are linked.
Health Conditions Linked to Your Dental Health
Studies have shown that your dental health can increase the risk of many different diseases and conditions. One study suggested that knee arthritis and other types of arthritis could be linked to the presence of oral bacteria. In tests done on the fluid in knee joints, oral and gum bacteria was found in this joint fluid. If oral bacteria gets in your joints, it has the ability to make problems with arthritis even worse.
There’s a lot of evidence pointing to a link between oral bacteria and heart disease. Multiple studies have found that there’s a link between inflammation and infections that are caused by the bacteria in the mouth and clogged arteries, heart disease, and strokes. Patients with gum disease have been found to have a higher risk of heart disease. The bacteria from the mouth may also cause endocarditis, a type of infection that occurs in the inner lining of the heart.
Even respiratory illnesses may be linked to oral bacteria. Breath in bacteria from the mouth and it could get into the lungs, resulting in respiratory problems like pneumonia. For people already struggling with chronic lung problems, these conditions may be made worth by oral bacteria that finds its way into the airways.
On the other hand, certain medical conditions can have an impact on your dental health as well. Diabetes can impair blood flow and change blood vessels in the mouth, weakening gum tissue and increasing the risk of developing gum disease. When diabetics do not keep blood glucose level under control, it can result in an increased number of bacteria within the oral cavity.
How to Improve Dental and Overall Health
Taking care of your dental health is an important part of caring for your overall health. What can you do to improve both your dental and overall health? The following tips can help.
- Tip #1 – Make sure you are flossing your teeth a minimum of once daily
- Tip #2 – Teeth should be brushed at least twice a day
- Tip #3 – Limit snacking between meals
- Tip #4 – Eat for oral and overall health, choosing a healthy diet and reducing your sugar intake
- Tip #5 – Be sure to head to your dentist for those routine checkups and dental cleanings at least twice a year
- Tip #6 – Replace your toothbrush every three months, or as soon as the bristles on the brush become bent and frayed
- Tip #7 – Stop smoking and using other types of tobacco products
Good dental health isn’t just important for a beautiful smile, it’s important to your overall health. Make sure that you have any dental problems taken care of immediately so you reduce your risk of other health complications. If you have medical problems like diabetes, inform your Jacksonville, Florida dentist so she can help you craft the best plan to keep your dental health and overall health in great shape.