The Link Between Oral Health and Overall Wellbeing

Most people don’t think of their oral health as part of their overall well being, and this can be problematic. When bacteria in the mouth aren’t controlled, they can enter the bloodstream and cause systemic diseases like heart disease, diabetes, respiratory ailments, and adverse pregnancy outcomes.

Fortunately, good oral hygiene practices and regular visits to the dentist can prevent these problems.

1. Oral Hygiene

The state of your teeth, gums and tongue, as well as the condition of your mouth, is known as your oral health. It enables you to enjoy foods, speak clearly, smile, and show emotions, all essential functions that support your ability to live a full life. Good oral health includes daily brushing and flossing to remove plaque, a colorless biofilm that harbors bacteria. It also includes visiting a dentist for professional cleanings and exams.

Poor oral health has been linked to serious health problems such as heart disease, diabetes, respiratory ailments, and even Alzheimer’s disease. However, a healthy mouth can be maintained by incorporating regular brushing and flossing, limiting sugary and acidic foods, using an ADA approved toothpaste, avoiding tobacco products, and getting routine dental cleanings and checkups. In addition, a diet rich in fruits and vegetables is important for optimal oral health. It can help prevent cavities, gum disease and bad breath, while reducing inflammation that could lead to other health conditions.

2. Healthy Diet

The cornerstone of a healthy diet is replacing processed foods with whole foods that are closer to the way they were made in nature. Choosing foods that are high in fibre, protein and nutrients will make you feel full and energised. However, a healthy diet doesn’t have to be restrictive and doesn’t mean you need to deprive yourself of the occasional treat.

Poor oral health has been linked to a number of systemic diseases including heart disease, diabetes, respiratory infections and adverse pregnancy outcomes. These conditions disproportionately affect the most vulnerable and disadvantaged groups which emphasises the need to prioritise oral health. Additionally, people with poor oral health require more expensive dental treatments which puts a burden on healthcare systems. These costs can be avoided by establishing a consistent preventive care routine. This will also lower the risk of developing other health conditions such as diabetes and heart disease.

3. Exercise

Taking the time to exercise is one of the most important things you can do to help maintain your oral health. It is not only good for your teeth and gums, but it can also help reduce the risk of serious diseases that are linked to poor oral hygiene like heart disease, diabetes, and respiratory conditions.

Studies have shown that people with periodontal disease have higher levels of inflammatory molecules in their blood, which can increase the risk of developing other systemic illnesses. Additionally, bacteria that enter the bloodstream can cause infections in other parts of the body such as the lungs and kidneys.

Often, these systemic illnesses can lead to poor quality of life for those suffering from them due to loss of productivity and discomfort. This is why it is so important to keep up with oral hygiene and regular dental visits! Taking the time to maintain your oral health is just as crucial as exercising and eating healthy.

4. Stress Management

There is a two-way connection between oral health and total body health. The mouth is the gateway to your body and can harbor bacteria that enter the bloodstream and cause systemic diseases like heart disease, diabetes, respiratory ailments and even Alzheimer’s disease.

Stress also can be a contributor to dental problems including grinding of the teeth (or bruxism) and clenching, dry mouth, ulcers, decreased sexual drive, and nutritional deficiencies. It is important to learn how to manage your stress to improve overall well being and prevent or delay the onset of dental and other health problems.

Oral health is important to the quality of life because it enables us to enjoy eating and drinking, socializing, working and playing without pain or embarrassment. Oral diseases, such as gum disease and tooth decay, can lead to complications affecting other parts of the body such as cardiovascular disease, respiratory disorders and pregnancy outcomes. The poorest and most vulnerable populations carry a heavier burden of oral diseases.

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