Oral Health and Your Overall Health

Oral Health and Your Overall Health

News flash – oral health is so much more than just your teeth! Your mouth is the window to the health of your body. Oral health includes not only the health of your teeth, but also your gums, bones, ligaments, muscles, glands, and nerves. Your ability to speak, smile, smell, taste, touch, chew, swallow, and make facial expressions to show feelings and emotions is impacted negatively or positively based on the condition of your oral health. Having good oral health gives an individual confidence in their self-image and sense of well-being.

Mouth and Body Connection

If your mouth is not healthy you could face far more serious consequences than just a simple toothache; however, the mouth is a fascinating thing. It can warn you of the start of more serious health conditions. It can show signs of nutritional deficiencies, general infection, and the onset of systemic diseases – diseases that can affect other parts of the body or the entire body – such as diabetes and AIDS. Diabetes complications can occur when you have inflammation of the gum tissue and periodontal disease (a disease more common in diabetic patients). These, in combination, can make it harder to control your blood sugar and make your diabetes symptoms worse.

Gum disease, an indicator of poor oral health and a chronic inflammatory condition, is linked to illnesses such as:

  • Heart Disease – A disease that is most known as coronary artery disease or cardiovascular disease. This disease causes decreased blood flow to the heart which can cause a heart attack.
  • Respiratory Disease – A disease that affects the lungs and other parts of the respiratory system. Respiratory diseases may be caused by infection, smoking tobacco, or breathing in secondhand tobacco smoke, radon, asbestos, or other forms of air pollution. Respiratory diseases include asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), pulmonary fibrosis, pneumonia, and lung cancer. Also called lung disorder and pulmonary disease.
  • Osteoporosis – A bone disease that occurs when the body loses too much bone, makes too little bone, or both. As a result, bones become weak and may break from a fall or, in serious cases, from sneezing or minor bumps.
  • Rheumatoid Arthritis – An autoimmune and inflammatory disease where your immune system attacks healthy cells in your body by mistake, causing inflammation (painful swelling) in the affected parts of the body.

Good Oral Health = Good Overall Health

It is important to establish good hygiene habits so that your oral health does not negatively impact your overall health. There are a variety of steps that can be taken to make sure that your oral health is in tiptop shape.

Oral Health Tips. Brush 2x daily for 2 minutes. Drink water with fluoride. Floss daily. Balanced diet, limit sugary foods. Visit dentist every 6 months. Good oral health = Good overall health.

  • Brushing your teeth twice a day & after every meal for two minutes with fluoride toothpaste
  • Drinking water with fluoride
  • Flossing daily
  • Eating a balanced diet
  • Limiting sweet snacks between meals
  • Staying away from sugary foods and drinks and try not to sip or eat on them all day. If you want a sugary food or drink, have one at mealtimes.
  • Visiting your dentist at least every six months for cleanings, prevention and treatment of cavities

Good Oral Health Saves Lives

Taking preventative steps and teaching your family good oral hygiene routines now can not only save their oral health, but also save their lives. With the new year, set a new goal to make your oral health a priority. Last year caused many of us to get behind on our oral health due to dental offices being closed. Dental offices are back up and running so don’t delay, schedule your appointment and make sure your oral health is in tiptop shape.

Contact Roseman Dental to schedule your dental exam.

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The Harmful Effects of Bad Oral Health

If you’re looking for ways to improve the health of your entire body, open your mouth and say “ahhhhhh.” Medical research has shown that individuals with gum disease have an increased risk of other health issues, such as heart disease and even cancer. Learn how bad oral health impacts the body and what you can do about it.

The True Impact of Gum Disease

Early signs of gum disease include swollen gums, chronic bad breath, gums that bleed while flossing and sensitive teeth. Your mouth acts as an internal interstate to the rest of your body, and the disease in your gums can use that interstate to spread to the rest of your system. Additional health complications that can result from gum disease include stroke, low birth weight in babies and other health complications. Now that you know the how, it’s time to learn more about the what, as in what you can do to reduce the harmful effects of poor oral health.

It All Starts in the Mouth

Besides keeping up with your oral hygiene, there are several additional things you can do to improve your overall physical health. One of the first things you should do is add more minerals and healthy fats to your diet. While you’re at it, you should ease up on foods with an abundance of sugar and vegetable oil.

To boost your immune system to fight off any disease you might already have and future disease, make sure you get plenty of sleep, handle your stress well and cut out bad lifestyle choices, such as smoking and excessive drinking.

Pay Attention to the Oral Products You Use

Using oral products won’t do you or your health much good if those products contain toxins that can counteract your preventative measures. Look at and research the ingredients in your toothpaste, mouthwash and chewing gum to make sure they’re as beneficial as their makers claim or talk to your dentist about what products s/he would recommend.

Take full control of your health, starting with your teeth and gums. Ask your dentist for more tips.    

How Is Oral Health Defined?

Everyone wants to have a healthy mouth and beautiful smile, but what exactly does it mean to have good oral health? Some individuals may think that a beautiful smile can be attributed to healthy teeth, but in some cases teeth whitening products can make a smile appear healthy even when it is not. If you are not certain what it means to have good oral health or what steps you should take to improve the health of your mouth, here is a brief definition of what you should be focused on.

Oral Refers to the Entire Mouth

The word “oral” has Latin roots that refer to the entire mouth; not just the teeth. This means that a person who wants to improve their oral health should focus on all of the tissues in the mouth, including the tongue, chewing muscles, teeth, gums, lips, and connective tissues. Based on this definition, oral health is achieved when all of the various structures in the mouth are taken care of and are free from painful conditions.

In addition to gingivitis and tooth decay, other conditions that affect oral health include:

  • Soft tissue lesions in the mouth area
  • Pharyngeal and oral cancers
  • Cleft palate
  • Cleft lip
  • Other painful oral diseases or conditions

Why Oral Health Is So Important

The health and scientific communities are continuously discovering links between oral health and other dangerous physical conditions, such as:

  • Premature births
  • Stroke
  • Heart disease
  • Lung disease

If you are concerned about the health of your body in general, you should also be concerned about improving your oral health. In addition to being linked to various physical ailments, poor oral health can also make it difficult for individuals to participate in daily activities, such as eating, drinking, and conversing with others.

Improve Your Oral Health Today

You can take matters into your own hands and improve your oral health by regularly brushing and flossing your teeth, rinsing your mouth with mouthwash, eating a healthy diet, and receiving regular dental checkups. 

The Benefits of Good Oral Hygiene

Brushing and flossing regularly can keep your teeth and gums healthy and your smile bright, but good oral hygiene benefits more than just your mouth. When you take care of your teeth and gums, you’re taking care of your whole body.

  1. Healthier Heart – Flossing keeps your gums healthy, but it can protect your heart as well. People with periodontal disease may have an increased risk of developing heart disease and may double their risk of experiencing a fatal heart attack. Gum disease can also lead to inflammation throughout the body, which is detrimental to your body and heart. On the other hand, healthy gums can contribute to a healthy heart.
  2. Healthier Pregnancy – Pregnancy can take a toll on a woman’s oral health, and starting off with healthy habits can protect you from the gum disease and increased cavities some pregnant women experience. Poor oral health may also increase your risk of delivering prematurely, so good oral hygiene is important for the health and safety of both you and your unborn baby.
  3. Improved Diabetes Management – If you have been diagnosed with diabetes, it’s important to know that you may be more prone to gum disease. You should also know that gum disease may affect your diabetes by increasing your insulin resistance. This two-way link between diabetes and gum disease makes it extremely important to maintain healthy oral care habits.
  4. Early Cancer Detection – Dentists are trained to detect early signs of oral cancer in the gums, lips, tongue and cheeks, so a regular checkup can alert you to a potential problem while it is still in the early stages. Oral cancer can advance quickly, so early detection can be lifesaving.
  5. Weight Management – Brushing can signal to your brain that you are finished eating, preventing you from snacking once a meal is complete. Brush and floss about 30 minutes after meals to keep your teeth and gums healthy, but also to prevent overeating and mindless snacking between meals.

Dentists recommend that you brush and floss at least twice a day, and that you schedule a cleaning and checkup twice a year. By maintaining good oral hygiene, you protect your teeth as well as your health. 

Why Oral Health is Important for Your Children

Although oral health is important at every stage of life, it is particularly important to establish proper oral habits in children that will serve as an ongoing investment in their health. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, cavities and untreated dental decay are the most common diseases affecting children, outpacing even asthma and hay fever.  It is recommended that children start seeing a dentist as early as one year of age.

Disease Detection

In addition to checking a child’s tooth development, early visits allow the dentist to check for signs of oral cancer or gum disease. There is also a correlation between caries (another name for cavities) in baby teeth and subsequent development of caries in the permanent teeth.

Primary Dentition

Your child’s dentist will make sure that your child’s primary teeth are coming in properly. These teeth, which precede the permanent teeth, start erupting as early as six months of age. While they do eventually fall out, primary teeth are important for developing chewing skills and learning to speak properly. The primary teeth also serve as markers for the proper alignment of the permanent teeth so it’s critical that they remain healthy throughout a child’s development.

Permanent Teeth

Your child will start developing his or her permanent teeth starting from about the age of 6. The dentist will want to ensure proper spacing and gum health as these teeth come in. He will likely discuss your child’s diet with you, as this is an important component of tooth enamel development. Since the permanent teeth will be with your child for a lifetime, it is particularly important that good oral health habits are established at an early age.

What You Can Do

One of the most important things you can do for your child’s oral health is to model good oral health behaviors. Establish and follow good habits yourself, such as brushing and flossing daily and visiting the dentist regularly, and emphasize the importance to your child. Children are great imitators. If you model with enthusiasm the good habits you want your child to adopt, your child is much more likely to copy what you are doing.