You’ve heard the saying, “The eyes are the window to the soul.” Well, according to a dentist in Medford, MA, your mouth is the window to the rest of your body. This is because the state of your oral health has been linked with the state of your overall health. Let’s examine this connection, and what you can do to protect your oral health.
How Is Oral Health Connected to Overall Health?
Like many other areas of the body, your mouth is home to lots of bacteria, many of them beneficial. But your mouth provides easy access to your respiratory and digestive tracts, and problems arise when harmful bacteria make their way into those areas.
Keeping good habits like daily brushing and flossing is usually enough to keep these bacteria under control. Neglecting these habits, however, can cause these bacteria to build up and cause infections like tooth decay and gum disease. In addition, some medications – such as antihistamines, antidepressants, and painkillers – can reduce the flow of saliva. The purpose of saliva is to wash away excess food particles that attract bacteria. Inadequate levels of saliva in the mouth means more bacteria are likely to accumulate.
Research suggests that the bacteria and inflammation associated with gum disease can lead to other diseases. Some disease, such as diabetes and HIV/AIDS, lower the body’s ability to fight disease, making oral infections more dangerous.
What Conditions Are Linked to Oral Health?
Oral health problems might contribute to certain conditions, such as:
- Cardiovascular disease. Some studies suggest that heart disease, stroke, and clogged arteries might be related to the inflammation and infections caused by bacteria in the mouth.
- Pregnancy complications. Gum disease has been connected to low birth weight and premature birth.
- Pneumonia. Bacteria in your mouth might migrate to your lungs, causing respiratory problems.
- Diabetes. Diabetes lowers your body’s resistance to infection, putting you more at risk for gum disease. People who have gum disease also have a harder time regulating their blood sugars.
How Can I Maintain Good Oral Health?
Practicing good oral hygiene by following these habits is a great way to keep your mouth healthy:
- Brush your teeth at least twice a day.
- Floss at least once a day.
- Use mouthwash after brushing and flossing to remove any leftover food particles.
- Limit sugary foods and drinks.
- Avoid tobacco use.
- Visit your dentist at least every six months for regular checkups and cleanings.
Make sure you contact your dentist if you are experiencing any problems in your oral health. By nipping these problems in the bud, your dentist can help you prevent further health issues down the road.
About the Author
Dr. Anthony Giamberardino received his B.A. in Biology from Harvard College in 1980, and his DDS degree from Tufts University School of Dental Medicine in 1985. He opened his own practice in Medford, MA in 1993, where he provides adult preventive, restorative, and cosmetic dentistry. He wants to help you preserve your natural smile for as long as possible, and that starts with practicing good oral hygiene habits. For more info click here or call (781)-396-3800.