We often think that oral health is only about our teeth and gums, but did you know that your oral health can have a significant effect on your overall health? Of course, our mouth and teeth are part of our bodies, but oral health issues can also affect serious health conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure, kidney disease and heart conditions.
During COVID-10 quarantine, it is essential to take care of your overall physical health and well-being, including oral health. Here are some things you can do from an oral health perspective that will benefit your whole body and mind.
If you don’t take care of your oral health, infections in your mouth can lead to a decreased immune system. Your mouth is full of bacteria, and your body can easily fight off and kill this bacteria in a well-functioning immune system. The harmful bacteria can get out of control if you don’t take care of your teeth and gums.
Other health conditions affected by oral health include:
- Endocarditis – This condition is caused by inflammation in the inner lining of the heart.
- Cardiovascular Disease – There is evidence that bacteria from oral infections can contribute to clogged arteries and an increased risk of stroke.
- Pregnancy Complications – This includes premature birth and low birth weight.
- Pneumonia – Harmful bacteria in the mouth can enter the lungs and cause infection leading to pneumonia
Some health conditions put you more at risk for oral health problems such as:
- Diabetes – Diabetes weakens your immune system and can contribute to an increased risk of gum disease. As well, there is a link between gum disease and difficulty controlling blood sugar.
- Osteoporosis – This disease weakens bones, including the bones in your mouth, leading to problems with your teeth and jaw.
- Alzheimer’s Disease – Poor oral health is often a symptom as the disease progresses.
So how do you take care of your oral health?
Regular oral hygiene.
It may sound simple, but regular tooth brushing with fluoride toothpaste twice a day is one of the most effective ways of preventing tooth decay and gum disease. Brushing clears away plaque buildup on your teeth caused by harmful bacteria. The bacteria create acid as they eat away at food particles, which can erode tooth enamel.
This plaque can also lead to gum disease and inflammation. Generally, if you are healthy and have an active immune system, your body will fight off small infections. If your immune system is weakened due to viruses or other conditions, poor oral health can lead to severe gum disease (periodontitis), which can play a role in many serious diseases. Be sure to also drop by reliable dentists like this reputable Dentist in el cajon for regular check-ups to maintain good dental health as well.
Dentists in Guelph, like Dr. Urszula Barrios, and orthodontists recommend flossing every day. Flossing gets between teeth and can remove food particles and plaque that brushing can’t get reach.
It would be best if you also changed your toothbrush when the bristles start to bend outwards. Toothbrushes can harbour harmful bacteria, so make sure to clean your brush before you brush your teeth. Many toothbrushes have indicator strips that alert you when a change is needed. Often this is every three months.
Diet and exercise also play a part in oral health and your overall health. Eating fresh fruits and vegetables full of vitamins and minerals help keep your tooth enamel strong and exercise keeps all parts of you moving and healthy.
Regular dental appointments are also a part of good oral health. Due to COVID-19, many dentists like Cosmo Dental Centre for teeth whitening have reduced appointments, and it may be difficult to get in for regular cleaning and checkup. In this case, daily dental hygiene at home is more important than ever.
If you do have an oral health issue or have any questions, give your dental office a call, they can assess you over the phone and, if needed, get you in to see a dentist as soon as possible.