Everyone wants to have beautiful looking pearly whites, hence the reason for brushing and flossing. But healthy teeth and gums is more than just a sign of good oral hygiene, it can be a sign of good overall health.
Your mouth is a breeding ground for many different types of bacteria; not all harmful but if neglected they can be. With regular brushing and flossing, you can generally keep bacteria into developing into something more serious. However, if you do not practice good oral hygiene, bacteria can become out of control and cause oral problems. Poor oral hygiene can lead to oral infections such as tooth decay, gum disease, periodontal bone loss and even tooth loss.
If you do not brush your teeth and floss regularly, you can develop gum disease. Gum disease is an infection of the tissues that surround and support the teeth. There are two types of gum disease: Gingivitis and Periodontal disease, or Periodontitis. Gingivitis is a mild case of gum disease in which only the gums are affected. Periodontitis is a severe form of gum disease that goes under your gums and destroys the tissues and bones that support the teeth. Research suggests that the bacteria that causes Periodontitis, enters your bloodstream by way of gum tissue. From there, it affects different parts of your body. Having gum disease does not just affect your mouth; it can contribute to and complicate many other health issues.
- Cardiovascular disease- Having gum disease can cause chronic inflammation. Chronic inflammation has been linked to the development of certain cardiovascular conditions including heart disease, stroke and clogged arteries.
- Low birth weight/ premature birth- Some women who are pregnant may experience increased gum disease. Some research has hinted at a connection between gum disease and low birth weight and premature babies. Although there is no solid link, it is suggested that regular dental visits be included as part of pre-natal care.
- Diabetes- Since people with diabetes are more susceptible to developing bacterial infections and have difficulty fighting off infection. Diabetics may be at greater risk for developing gum disease. Diabetics with severe gum disease appear to have more difficulty controlling their blood sugar levels, than those who have healthy gums. Diabetics are also more prone to other oral conditions including thrush and dry mouth. People with diabetes need to brush, floss and see their dentist regularly to prevent complications.
- Osteoporosis- Having weak or brittle bones is known as Osteoporosis. When someone has osteoporosis all of their bones including the jaw bone are affected. Our jaw bone supports our teeth. When bone loss occurs, the jaw bone becomes less dense and unable to support the tooth, causing tooth loss. Severe gum disease can also contribute to the break down of the jaw bone. Women with osteoporosis are 3 times more likely to have tooth loss than women without osteoporosis.
- Inflammation in your body – There has long been a link between Rheumatoid Arthritis and Periodontitis. Studies have shown that people with RA have a higher incidence of severe gum disease than those studied with healthy gums. Although they are two different conditions, they are similar in a few ways. Both RA and Periodontitis are chronic diseases that occur in the soft tissue areas near the bones. RA and Periodontitis are also characterized by the destruction of hard and soft tissues caused by inflammation related toxins. It’s not surprising that many RA patients who receive treatment for Periodontitis notice improvement with their RA symptoms.
There is no denying the link between a healthy mouth and your overall health. So keep you teeth and mouth clean. Brush your teeth twice a day, floss regularly, keep snacking to a minimum and see the dentist for regular check-ups. Your health depends on it.
Tags: brushing and flossing, diabetes, diabetics, gingivitis, gum disease, oral health, oral health for overall health, oral hygiene, osteoporosis, overall health, periodontitis, RA, Rheumatoid Arthritis, severe gum disease