Regularly going to the dentist is important for your oral health, which also has a bearing on your long-term well-being. Your mouth represents the first area that digestion takes place and provides a roadmap to whole health that your dentist needs to monitor.
Your smile is also an intrinsic part of how you make a first impression and express yourself. Poor dental care and health can leave you feeling self-conscious and bad about yourself. If you practice good oral health, your overall health will reflect this case, but when bad dental care persists, your smile may also reflect other ill health concerns or serious conditions.
Periodontal Disease Leads to Worsening Health
Do you do a Harry Potter version of oral health care where you “swish and flick” with your toothbrush? If so, you barely scraped the surface of over 700 bacterial species colonized in your mouth, and those bad dental practices lead to sensitivity, receding gums and gingivitis, which means periodontal disease — a risk factor for other major health concerns.
Keep up with the bad dental habits, and you get a ticket to worsening oral health in the form of advanced periodontitis, boosting your risk of heart disease and damaging bone health. You also put yourself at risk for stroke, diabetes and kidney disease, among others. This level of increased risk also raises your mortality risk or early death.
Hundreds of millions of folks are affected by periodontal disease, the sixth most chronic condition in the world. Half of all adults in America have some form of periodontal disease, and now’s the time to act.
Bad Oral Health Affects Inflammation and Cardiac Health
The root of bad oral health as a crisis comes down to inflammation. Many people are serious about their heart health but fail to improve their dental practices at home — forty-six percent of US citizens have gum disease. In 2012, the American Heart Association (AHA) shared a statement supporting the link between cardiac health and periodontal disease — recent research reveals the link is more causal.
One study infected various mice with four kinds of bacteria shown to lead to periodontal disease, and within six months, inflammation and cholesterol levels raised in the mice — the heightening of cardiovascular disease risk. The bacteria moved to other organs from the mouth, including the liver, lungs and kidney. These types of bacteria, connected with periodontal lesions, generated small clots in platelets, the same clots revealed as a causal link to stroke. Gingivitis is linked to diabetes, but many patients feel the blood is something minor that will clear up. Unfortunately, that blood is a sign of a darker reality when it persists — periodontal disease is established. Once that’s the case, with diabetes in the mix, the diseases feed each other.
Alzheimer’s Connected to Periodontal Bacteria in Blood
Advancing periodontal disease is no joke, folks — bacteria from the mouth goes on a rogue mission in other areas of the body through the bloodstream. Remember the poor mice? Inflammation links Alzheimer’s disease and periodontitis — the periodontal bacteria in patient blood moves to the brain and causes damage in the form of tissue deterioration typical of Alzheimer’s. Expecting Mothers at Risk
Health care professionals stress the need for regular dental visits during pregnancy for a reason — 40 percent of expecting mothers have periodontal disease. Dental health impact of the other extends to the unborn child since physiologic shifts in the oral cavity are typical during pregnancy, so periodontal bacteria can get established more easily. A study in the nineties linked preterm delivery with periodontal disease in pregnancy.
That’s why it’s vital for mothers to get regular check-ups at the dentist office when pregnant. Don’t let gum and periodontal diseases lead to low birth weight and other serious concerns in the baby and mom’s blood vessels and vital organs. If family history contains heart disease or other chronic concerns, it’s particularly important to make that dentist appointment stat.
Boost Your Oral Health Care
Keep up with your dental visits — at least twice a year unless your dentist recommends otherwise. Regular visits ensure you keep your smile pearly and healthy, and your dentist can watch for other health concerns.
Exams can detect a need to improve hygiene and nutrition and address the onset of diseases that may run in your family. Improving your dental care habits is one intrinsic way to prevent bigger health concerns down the road. Always make your dentist aware of any changes in your health, and at home, practice these good oral health habits:
• Brush your teeth twice a day, at least two minutes each time.
• Floss each day to reach the places your toothbrush can’t. Goodbye, plaque!
• Avoid smokeless tobacco and cigarettes, which contribute to oral cancer and gum disease.
• Keep up with regular dental check-ups.
Your mouth is the first place digestion starts, so it makes sense that maintaining a healthy smile is key to whole health and wellness.
Establishing a good oral health care routine is the best place to start to stay on the road to maintaining good health.