Healthy is the New Wealthy: Oral Hygiene and Your Health – Any Connection?


    Oral Hygiene and Your Health – Any Connection?

    Well actually, yes there is. Taking good care of your mouth affects your overall health and well-being, while lacking good oral hygiene habits can negatively affect the rest of your body. Sure, brushing twice a day and flossing on a daily basis keeps your teeth and gums healthy, but doing so actually affects the health of your entire body. Your mouth is full of bacteria, and that bacteria passing through into your body and bloodstream, may contribute to different health conditions and diseases. And these conditions go beyond cavities and gingivitis or bad breath.
    So we know that lacking proper oral hygiene habits contributes to periodontal or gum disease which starts out as a mild form of gingivitis. But it doesn’t stop there. Gingivitis causes swollen, bleeding gums and if left untreated it can then become a more severe infection called periodontitis which destroys the gum tissue as well as the bones that support your teeth. And if that is not enough, the following are more ways that poor oral hygiene can affect your health.
    Cardiovascular/Heart Disease – bacteria from periodontal disease has been linked to heart disease because of the chronic inflammation that is caused from it, suggesting that clogged arteries, heart attack and stroke can be the result of oral bacteria. According to the American Academy of Periodontology, people with periodontal disease are more likely to suffer from coronary artery disease. Another research study found that evaluating one’s poor oral hygiene was more effective in foreseeing heart disease in a patient than tracking their levels of cholesterol and triglycerides.
    Diabetes – it has been found that the rate of periodontal disease is very high among diabetics. Especially those diabetics who have little or poor control over their condition. Because diabetics are more prone to infection, periodontal disease makes it even more difficult for them to control their blood sugar. So if you have diabetes, it is very important to reduce your risk of gum disease by practicing good oral hygiene habits.
    Cancer – studies have shown that poor brushing habits, tooth decay, and periodontal disease were all factors that increased the risk of developing different forms of cancers involving the head, neck, esophagus and lungs.
    Premature birth – gum disease has also been linked to premature birth and low birth weights. This is because there is a chemical called prostaglandin which induces labor and this chemical is found in oral bacteria. Pregnant women who have periodontal disease are more likely to go into labor prematurely and may also experience low birth weights. The higher the levels of prostaglandin present in a pregnant woman, the higher her risk for pregnancy complications.
    Memory Loss/Alzheimer’s disease – Because there is a link between bad oral hygiene and the blocking of arteries; the risk of memory loss, dementia and Alzheimer’s disease is increased when the arteries to the brain are affected.
    Who would have thought that skipping brushing and flossing can lead to so many health problems? So practice good, healthy oral hygiene habits like brushing twice a day, flossing daily, replacing your toothbrush every 3 to 4 months and getting regular dental checkups to keep these conditions at bay. Taking good care of your mouth promotes your overall health; so remember a healthy mouth means a healthy you.
    Staff Writer for

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