Skipping your daily or nightly teeth brushing regime may seem like an innocent thing to do, however, this couldn’t be further from the truth. Your oral hygiene affects your overall health and if you have a history of certain health issues in your family, your oral health shouldn’t be overlooked.
Tooth decay is more than a cosmetic issue, it is an indicator your gums aren’t healthy. This article will review the most recent studies found linking oral hygiene to physical health, as well as an inside look into more severe cases, and tips on how you can keep your oral health in top condition.
How Oral Hygiene Affects Physical Health 2022
- How are Oral Health and Physical Health Connected?
- What Health Conditions does Oral Hygiene affect?
- Can Health Affect my Oral Health Too?
- What is Periodontal Disease?
- Tips for Good Oral Hygiene
How are Oral Health and Physical Health Connected?
Like every aspect of your physical body, your mouth contains many different bacterias. Because your mouth is the starting point for your digestive and respiratory systems some bacteria can cause diseases.
Paired with your body’s natural defenses having a healthy oral hygiene regimen will stop the harmful bacteria from spreading. Brushing your teeth and flossing are preventative measures that keep these bacteria under control in less than 6 minutes per day.
What Health Conditions does Oral Hygiene affect?
There are many conditions linked to your oral health, some of which include:
- Respiratory Infections - Your mouth is the entry point for your respiratory system. As air is pulled through your mouth to your lungs if harmful bacteria isn’t stopped before it goes straight to your lungs. The linked health concerns are COPD, pneumonia, and bronchitis.
- Cardiovascular Disease - Inflamed gums can be from periodontal disease, the bacteria that cause this can get into your bloodstream and cause your arteries to build up with plaque. These lead to blood flow issues, heart blockages, which increase the likelihood of other severe health problems like a heart attack.
Other cardiovascular concerns include hypertension, increased risk for strokes, and often fatal endocarditis.
- Cancer - Poor oral health has been linked to pancreatic cancer, kidney cancer, and blood cancers. Not to mention the oral and throat cancers that are more common in those who use tobacco products.
If you are battling cancer right now, here are some measures to take to ensure your oral hygiene is working with your treatment.
- Kidney Disease - If you have gum disease you are more likely to develop chronic kidney disease. These affect not only the kidneys, but your heart, blood pressure, and bones as well. These diseases can be fatal, even more so if it turns into cardiovascular disease or kidney failure.
- Infertility - There is a link between infertility in women and poor oral hygiene. Women who have gum disease can take a longer time to conceive compared to those in good oral health.
- Pregnancy Complications - If you are expecting oral hygiene is vital for the health of not on you, but your baby as well. Tooth decay can lead to gum disease which can lead to many more severe health concerns.
According to the CDC 60 - 75% of expecting mothers have gingivitis, an early warning sign for periodontal disease.
Can Health Affect my Oral Health Too?
Yes, different medical diagnoses are linked to oral health issues.
- Diabetes - Patients who have diabetes are at a higher risk for developing periodontal disease. This disease leads to heart complications including plaque build-ups and calcification, blood cancers, and much more.
- Dementia - Your mouth and brain are very close to each other in your body. Studies suggest the bacteria that causes gum disease is linked to Alzheimer’s disease and vascular dementia.
What is Periodontal Disease?
Because periodontal disease is linked to so many of these health issues, you must understand what it is. Periodontal disease, otherwise known as perio or periodontitis, is an inflammation or infection in your gums.
It can easily be identified by multiple factors. The gums will be raised and curved on the parts where they touch your teeth. These are called pockets, these pockets are filled with the perio infection. Another identifier is bad breath, if you try to use mouthwash but cannot get that minty fresh smell you want, this could be an indicator of a more serious matter.
Lastly, if you brush your teeth and your gums bleed, this is either a sign of brushing too hard or gingivitis. Healthy gums do not bleed. Gingivitis is the beginning stage of periodontal disease. If you catch gingivitis at an early stage is it possible to be reversed before it turns into perio.
When you have periodontitis instead of getting a normal dental cleaning you have to go to a dental specialist called a periodontist. This doctor measures pockets in your gums to see how deep the infection has spread. Once the severity has been established your doctor does what is referred to as “deep cleaning.”
This cleaning consists of separating your gum from your tooth so they can go inside to scrape away the infection, plaque, and tartar that has built up underneath the gums.
Tips for Good Oral Hygiene
Good oral health isn’t hard to accomplish. You can complete the preventative measures in less time than it takes you to finish a cup of coffee.
- Brush your teeth at least twice a day for only 2 minutes each. Brush in circular motions.
- Use a soft-bristled brush and replace it every 3 months or sooner if the edges start to fray.
- Floss your teeth daily.
- Use mouthwash to get rid of any particles left behind after brushing and flossing.
- Limit sugary foods and drinks.
- Eat healthy foods.
- Avoid tobacco products of all kinds.
Your oral hygiene and physical health are directly connected. The best way to prevent your body from falling ill is by taking preventative measures. Simply follow the advice provided by your dental specialist to prevent tooth decay.
Brush your teeth twice a day for 2 minutes. Once in the morning and once before bed. These small steps will help you get and keep healthy gums as well as your teeth for as long as possible.