Did you know that brushing your teeth can have a domino effect on many aspects of your overall health and wellness? Doctors have found that a person's dental health is a telling indicator about the person's overall health, and dental problems can impact other areas of the body. Since this link has been discovered, some people are referring to the mouth as the gateway to the rest of the body.
How are oral health and overall health connected?
Normal dental habits, such as brushing and flossing, are beneficial to manage the bacteria that is present within the mouth. With good dental care, it's possible to keep the bacteria under control. But, if oral hygiene isn't a priority, then the bacteria can cause dental infections to occur, such as gum disease and tooth decay. Inflammation is the byproduct of these infections, and increased inflammation is related to a number of other health concerns.
It has been found that oral bacteria and severe gum disease might have a direct impact on other types of diseases. In fact, one recent study suggested that people with gum disease are 40 percent more likely to suffer from another chronic health condition in addition to the gum disease.
This connection might seem surprising, as these other health concerns don't seem to be directly tied to the mouth. But many health professionals agree that there seems to be a direct link between oral health and overall wellness.
These are some of the health problems that have been associated with poor oral health:
, including stroke, clogged arteries and other forms of heart disease.
, because people with gum disease often have a harder time controlling their blood sugar.
might be affected, and poor dental health has been tied to low birth weight and premature birth.
is more common in people who suffer from tooth loss before the age of 35.
Protect your overall health with good dental habits
If you want to protect your dental health and prevent some of the health problems listed above, you need to make sure that you are maintaining good dental habits daily. These daily habits may seem small, but can make a big difference when you are consistently following a dental routine.
Good oral hygiene should include brushing your teeth at least twice a day, as well as daily flossing. Additionally, visit the dentist for a checkup every six months, as dental checkups allow early detection of potential problems. When problems are identified in the beginning stages, it is much easier to use smaller, non-invasive treatments to address the concerns before the problems get worse.
Use a good, quality toothpaste and replace your toothbrush every three to four months, or possibly sooner if you notice that the bristles are becoming frayed and worn. It is also important to maintain a healthy diet and reduce your consumption of sugary foods, such as soda, candy, cookies and other types of desserts.
When you are proactive with your dental health, it is possible to protect your overall health and wellness as well. Your daily habits can have a lasting impact on your health for many years to come.
Dr. Roderick is a dentist in Phoenix, Arizona and a graduate of Southern Illinois University School of Dental Medicine. He has invested over 2,000 hours to date in continuing education. He is rated amongst the top cosmetic dentists in Phoenix,