Many of us know that maintaining optimal oral hygiene through regular brushing and flossing is vital to enjoying a beautiful smile and minty, fresh breath. But what many people don’t know is the benefits of good dental hygiene extend well beyond one’s dental health. According to the American Dental Association, there is a direct, two-way correlation between one’s dental health and physical well-being.
But what aspects of physical health affect one’s oral health status? You may ask. If you are looking for an answer to this question, this is the right place for you! This blog will discuss how dental health affects physical health and why it is crucial to maintain good oral hygiene. So, read on to continue.
Oral and Systemic Health – What’s the Connection
Research has identified two aspects explaining the link between dental and systemic health.
- Inflammatory Markers – first, chronic inflammation in the oral cavity increases the levels of inflammatory markers in the bloodstream. This results in a decrease in the body’s immune response. At the same time, an increase in the inflammatory markers also adds to the body’s overall disease burden.
- Oral Cavity as a Pathogen Reservoir – the oral cavity also acts as a reservoir for harmful bacteria that enter the bloodstream from inflamed gums and cause disease in other body organs.
Oral Health and Heart Disease
According to Healthline, poor oral health increases the risk of developing heart disease. According to the currently available evidence, clogging of the arteries, heart disease, and risk of stroke may be linked to the increased inflammatory markers in the bloodstream due to chronic gum disease.
Furthermore, poor oral hygiene can also increase the risk of endocarditis – a condition occurring due to the inflammation of the inner lining of the heart. This happens when bacteria from inflamed gums enter the bloodstream, travel to the heart’s valves, and attach to them, causing inflammation.
Oral Health and Pregnancy-related Complications
According to Mayo Clinic, inflammation caused due to periodontitis can increase the risk of pre-term or low-weight births in pregnant women. That is why it is crucial for women to look after their oral health during pregnancy.
Oral Health and Alzheimer’s
Did you know that poor oral health can also damage your brain? Research has shown that a particular bacterium found in inflamed gum tissues, Porphyromonas gingivalis, and an enzyme called gingipains, are linked to Alzheimer’s disease, as they were found in the brain tissues of deceased patients suffering from this disease.
Oral Health and Diabetes
Research has established a two-way relationship between oral health and diabetes. First, high blood sugar levels decrease the body’s immune response and increase the risk of inflammatory dental conditions such as gum disease. On the other hand, chronic gum disease has been shown to disturb blood glucose levels, resulting in an increased risk of diabetes. Did you know that periodontal disease is the 6th major complication of diabetes? So, regular oral hygiene care has been shown to decrease the risk of gum disease.
Oral Health and Bone-related Disorders
Periodontal disease has also been linked with an increased risk of osteoporosis, a condition characterized by the weakening and thinning of the bones.
Oral Health and Respiratory Disorders
As discussed earlier, harmful bacteria from inflamed teeth and gums can enter other body organs through the bloodstream. If these bacteria enter the lungs, they can cause severe respiratory conditions, including pneumonia.
Additionally, other systemic conditions have also been linked to poor oral hygiene maintenance and gum disease. These are:
- Dry mouth
- Sjorgren’s disease
- Sleep disorders, including sleep apnoea
Dental Care Centre, the leading dentist in London comments that maintaining optimal oral health through brushing, flossing, and visiting your dentist regularly is the best way to enjoy a beautiful smile and avoid the need for Dental implants due to gum disease-related tooth loss. But that’s not all!
As discussed in this blog, good oral health is essential for being physically fit and healthy. So, what’s stopping you from enjoying all these benefits? Take good care of your oral health and never miss your dentist’s appointment; that’s all you need to remain healthy and enjoy an active lifestyle.