You can keep your mouth healthy and prevent dental decay and gum disease by practicing good oral hygiene. Today, our Tecumseh dentists explain how a healthy mouth can also contribute to better overall health and well-being.
Practicing good oral hygiene can allow us to reasonably and reliably predict better outcomes for dental health. This means that if you have good oral hygiene habits, you will be more likely to keep your teeth as you age. Since dental health can impact overall physical well-being, good oral hygiene practices can positively impact your overall health.
A Healthy Salivary Flow
Saliva can help dentists and doctors to identify and diagnose systemic diseases before their symptoms appear.
This helpful diagnostic tool can also help disable viruses and bacteria before they get into your system. In fact, saliva is one of the body's primary defences against organisms that cause diseases.
Antibodies that attack viral pathogens such as the common cold and HIV are in saliva, which also contains enzymes that destroy bacteria in several different ways. For example, these enzymes can destroy bacteria in many different ways, including degrading bacterial membranes, disrupting vital bacterial enzyme systems and inhibiting the growth and metabolism of some bacteria.
Most people can easily maintain a healthy salivary flow. Staying hydrated is key. Make sure to drink lots of water during the day to maintain your healthy salivary flow.
Dental Plaque & Infection
Your mouth houses over 500 species of bacteria that are constantly forming dental plaque, a sticky, colourless film that clings to your teeth and causes a variety of health problems.
If you don’t brush and floss your teeth regularly and thoroughly, you’re allowing dental plaque to build up between your gums and teeth, eventually leading to a gum infection called gingivitis. Left unchecked, gingivitis can lead to a more serious infection called periodontitis (gum disease).
If you have periodontitis, simply undergoing a dental treatment or just brushing your teeth can provide a port of entry for the abundant bacteria in your mouth to enter your bloodstream.
If your immune system is healthy, the presence of oral bacteria in your bloodstream will not cause problems. However, if it has been weakened, for example by a disease or by cancer treatment, oral bacteria in your bloodstream may cause you to develop an infection in another part of your body.
Infective endocarditis, which is when oral bacteria enter the bloodstream and stick to the lining of diseased heart valves, is an example of this.
Dental Plaque’s Link to Common Conditions
Having a healthy mouth may help you ward off certain diseases and medical problems such as stroke, heart attack, complications related to diabetes, and even pre-term labour.
Poorly Controlled Diabetes
Chronic gum disease may make diabetes more difficult to control. The infection may cause insulin resistance, which can disrupt blood sugar control.
Bacteria in the mouth may cause inflammation throughout the body, including the arteries, meaning gingivitis may play a role in clogged arteries and blood clots.
In addition, gum disease and tooth loss may contribute to the development of plaques in the carotid artery.