How Taking Care of Your Teeth and Gums Can Protect Your Overall Health

Everyone knows that good dental hygiene can keep your smile white and bright, prevent bad breath, cavities and gum disease.

Did you know there are other reasons to brush and floss daily?

Research has shown that good oral hygiene and dental care can help keep you avoid other health problems and keep your whole body healthy. Not only does oral health reveal a lot about our overall health and serve as a diagnostic tool, but not taking care of your mouth may also put you at an increased risk for health problems such as stroke, heart attack, diabetes, and preterm labor.

The health of your mouth can reveal a lot about the overall health of your entire body. Your mouth is like a window revealing what’s going on throughout your entire body because several conditions can produce oral signs and symptoms. For example, some of the first symptoms of diabetes and AIDS are mouth lesions and other oral problems. In fact, 90% of all systemic diseases produce mouth related signs and symptoms according to the Academy of General Dentistry.

Oral Health Provides Diagnostic Insight

Doctors can use saliva as a diagnostic tool for a variety of conditions. It is one of the bodies first line defense systems against bacteria and viruses. Saliva contains antibodies that fight the common cold and HIV. It contains proteins called histatins, which inhibit the growth of a naturally occurring fungus called Candida albicans.

Your Mouth Can Be A Source of Infection

While your mouth can help protect you in many ways from disease, it can also be a source of infection if proper oral hygiene and dental care is not maintained.

Failure to brush and floss your teeth on a regular basis can cause plaque to build up along the gum line and this creates an environment susceptible to bacteria accumulating between your gums and teeth. This is what is referred to as gingivitis. Gingivitis can lead to more a serious gum infection called periodontitis. The most severe form of gum infection is called acute necrotizing ulcerative gingivitis. This is also known as trench mouth.

While oral bacteria don’t typically enter the bloodstream, when you have serious gum disease, dental treatment and even brushing and flossing can provide an entry point for these microbes. For people with healthy immune systems this normally doesn’t cause any problems. Unfortunately, for those with a weak immune system, oral bacteria in the bloodstream can cause infections in other parts of the body.

Gum infection left untreated has also been associated with poorly controlled diabetes, cardiovascular disease and preterm birth.

A beautiful smile and fresh breath are not the only reasons to maintain your oral health and see your dentist for regular checkups and cleaning. Proper oral hygiene as part of maintaining a healthy body for life.



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