Direct Benefits of Good Oral Health
Before we examine the points of connection between your mouth and your body, we should first of all stop to consider the more direct benefits of good oral hygiene.
Most obvious, perhaps, is the fact that by keeping plaque and tartar from building up excessively on your teeth, you prevent cavities, the possible need for a root canal, and keep up a bright, clean smile.
To care for your gums properly: floss away inter-dental food particles, use a toothpick or the pointy end of a disposable floss stick. Also, use an antiseptic mouth rinse, and brush gums with a soft-bristled brush. Proper gum care can help prevent gingivitis and periodontitis; otherwise, you'll need periodontal treatment to correct the problem early.
Another rather direct benefit of healthy teeth and gums is the prevention of halitosis, which is the dental term for chronic bad breath.
The bottom line is that by protecting your mouth from infection and decay, you retain the use of your teeth longer in life and avoid many dental procedures and their accompanying expenses.
Indirect Benefits of Good Oral Health
But besides the more direct and obvious benefits of keeping your oral cavity healthy, also consider that a healthy mouth impacts the health of your whole body.
When you have periodontal disease in particular, there are many additional problems that can develop as a result. Here are some of the main ones:
1. Out Of Control Diabetes.
Gum disease can exacerbate diabetes and make it more difficult to control. Gum infections are thought to cause insulin resistance, which then can throw off your blood sugar.
2. Heart Disease
Periodontal disease increases your risk of heart attack, stroke, and endocarditis. The latter is a condition where bacteria from the oral cavity have gotten into the body's bloodstream and then clung to heart valves. Heart health in general can be negatively affected by poor oral health.
3. Bodily Inflammation
Oral inflammations, especially of the gums, can also lead to inflammations in other parts of the body. This will depend on your immune health, but if your immune system is already weak, it's a real danger.
4. Preterm Births
Preterm and low-weight births are also associated, in many studies, with advanced periodontitis (severe gum disease). Many believe that toxins from oral infections travel through the bloodstream, both interfering with the normal development of the placenta and causing the mother to produce labor-triggering hormones.
But there are other ways poor oral health can affect your body beyond the mouth too, besides due to gum disease. For example, dry mouth where you are not producing enough saliva, can lead to a fungal infection called oral thrush that can spread to your throat and beyond. And excessive, intense teeth clenching can lead to TMJ disease, which damages your lower jaw muscles.
To learn more about the "mouth-body" connection, contact periodontist Dr. Raymond A. Kenzik in Volusia and Flagler Counties, FL, today!