Why you want to look after your oral health
Most people think that oral health is only about the mouth. In fact, a healthy mouth is also good for your body. Of course, it is ideal to take care of your mouth, teeth and gums to prevent bad breath, tooth decay and gum disease but a healthy mouth may also help you ward off other larger medical problems. An unhealthy mouth, especially if you have gum disease, may increase your risk of serious health problems such as heart attack, stroke, poorly controlled diabetes and even preterm labour.
Why are healthy gums important?
Many studies have linked oral inflammatory disease with an elevated risk of heart disease. Research has indicated that those who suffer from periodontal disease are at a greater risk of heart disease with twice the risk of suffering a fatal heart attack than those who do not have periodontal disease. Gum disease that stems from extended bacterial exposure increases the risk of cardiovascular disease because it may increase the inflammation level throughout the body. Inflammation is a large risk factor for heart disease.
Poor oral health can lead to infection
If you fail to brush and floss regularly, it is possible for plaque to build up along your gumline which creates the perfect environment for additional bacteria to accumulate in the gap between your gums and teeth, causing gingivitis. If left untreated, gingivitis can develop into periodontitis – a much more serious gum infection. The most severe form of gum infection is called acute necrotizing ulcerative gingivitis which is also known as trench mouth.
What is tooth decay?
Teeth are covered in a hard, outer shell called enamel. Each day, a fine film of bacteria called dental plaque builds up on your teeth. These bacteria produce acids that can damage enamel. Although brushing and flossing your teeth can help to prevent decay, a cavity cannot be reversed, and a dentist will need to fix it. Use fluoride toothpaste to protect your teeth from decay. Your dentist or dental hygienist may give you a fluoride treatment during an office visit or may tell you to use a fluoride gel or mouth rinse at home.
Is there a link between gum disease and diabetes?
It is well known that people with diabetes are more prone to gum disease. There is new evidence that suggests gum disease may actually contribute to diabetes due to its effect on the blood glucose level. Periodontal disease is an infection which means that the bacteria produces toxins that affect the metabolism of carbohydrates in individual cells. It is believed that the body’s response to periodontal bacteria can increase the resistance to insulin and therefore, blood glucose levels.
Oral health linked to pregnancy
When a woman is pregnant, it is extremely important that she maintain regular check-ups with the dentist and hygienist. Ongoing studies are examining whether pregnant women with poor oral health might be at a higher risk of delivering pre-term low birth weight babies than those who have good oral health.
Detecting oral cancer
At your regular check-ups, the dentist will examine all your soft tissues to ensure that they are healthy. Dentists are trained to do a cancer screening as part of the dental check-up which can help to save your life with early detection. Even more so because a precancerous lesion can begin as just a small white or dark red patch that may not cause any noticeable symptoms and thus go unnoticed.
How to prevent gum disease:
- Brush your teeth twice a day with fluoride toothpaste.
- Floss once a day.
- Visit your dentist regularly for a check-up and cleaning.
- Eat a well-balanced diet
- Quit smoking as it increases your risk of gum disease.
If you didn’t already have enough reasons to take care of your mouth, the relationship between your oral and overall health should sway you. It is in your best interest to practice good oral hygiene every day because you are investing in yourself for both the present and the future. Book an appointment with Lake View Dental today and let us help you with your oral health.