Your oral health is a fairly solid indicator of your overall health. If your mouth is healthy, it’s generally a sign that the rest of your body is doing well. However, if your oral health is poor, it can lead to problems that affect the rest of your body.
Understanding How Oral Health and Overall Health Are Linked
According to R+R Dental in Hicksville, NY, your mouth is the entryway for bacteria. While most of these bacteria are harmless, some of them are not. When your body is healthy and you follow good oral health care, it keeps bacteria under control. Problems arise when the levels of bacteria get too high and cause infections that lead to tooth decay and gum disease.
If you’re taking medications for other conditions, it’s important to maintain good oral health even more. Many prescription medications can reduce the flow of saliva. With a dry mouth, it is much easier for microbes to multiply.
When you don’t take care of your dental health, you may face a higher risk of developing other conditions. Endocarditis is an infection of the lining within the chambers of the heart, caused by bacteria spreading into the bloodstream through the mouth.
Cardiovascular disease, aka heart disease, may be linked in some way to the inflammation and infections caused by oral bacteria. Pneumonia and other respiratory issues may arise from bacteria in the mouth going into the lungs. Diabetes, osteoporosis, Alzheimer’s disease, and rheumatoid arthritis may also be linked to dental health.
What You Can Do to Protect Your Oral Health
Your dentist specializes in the health of your teeth and gums. If your dentist has noticed an oral health issue, you should visit your doctor to see if there is an underlying cause. If you’re already being monitored for a health condition, you should let your dentist know what kind of medication you’re taking so they can work around it for your best oral health.
Once you have both your doctor and your dentist helping you achieve your best health, you should also do your part to practice good oral hygiene. This includes brushing and flossing daily. The toothbrush you use makes all the difference, and a soft-bristled brush is the way to go. For an extra measure of protection, you should use an electric toothbrush, which can remove plaque buildup around the gums more efficiently.
Your toothpaste and mouthwash should also contain fluoride. Flossing should be done once daily, though the technique is what matters most. If you still struggle to floss properly, ask your dentist to show you the right way.
For your dental and overall health, eating right can make a huge impact. Focus on fresh foods to help your body get all the vitamins and minerals it needs, and limit the sugary treats.
Don’t skip your dental appointments, and if you notice anything that seems wrong before your next visit, let your dentist know. They’ll be able to create a treatment plan to get your mouth back in good health.