January 18, 2023

Dental Health and You

Dental and oral health is an essential part of our overall health and well-being. In fact, the health of our teeth and gums—has a major impact on overall health, medical costs, and quality of life. “The significance of the mouth as part of our health is often overlooked and underappreciated,” says Dr. Caswell Evans, Associate Dean for Prevention and Public Health Sciences, UIC College of Dentistry. Poor oral hygiene can lead to dental cavities and gum disease, and has been linked to heart disease, cancer, diabetes and other ailments.

Our oral cavity collects all sorts of bacteria, viruses, and fungi. Some of them belong there, as the normal flora of our mouth. They’re generally harmless in small numbers. But a diet high in sugar creates conditions in which acid-producing bacteria can flourish. This acid dissolves tooth and causes cavities and when they pass through the gums into our blood can cause some serious health issues.

Conditions that can be linked to Oral Health:

Periodontal (gum) disease and pre-diabetes

Studies have shown how Gum infections can affect pancreatic and liver cells in a way that could lead to pre-diabetes/diabetes.

Heart Disease

If you have poor oral health, you are at risk for heart disease. The bacteria from the infected gums enters the bloodstream and can cause the blood vessels to build up plaque. This can put you at risk for a heart attack.

Lung Infections

If you have infected or inflamed gums that bacteria can travel through oral cavity into the lungs. This can lead to respiratory infections, pneumonia, or even bronchitis.

Rheumatoid arthritis

The more tooth loss due to gum disease, the higher the risk of rheumatoid arthritis.

Cancer

Poor oral health can put patients at risk for different types of cancers like kidney cancer, pancreatic cancer, or blood cancer. If patients smoke or use tobacco products this can lead to oral or throat cancers.

Dementia

Inflamed gums can release Chemical substances that are harmful to our brain cells. This can lead to memory loss that is a result of bacteria affecting to the nerves.

Pregnancy Complications and Issues

Gum disease can lead to various health issues that can make it more difficult for a woman to conceive and sustain a healthy pregnancy. It can actually take longer for a woman with poor oral health to get pregnant than it would for a woman who has good dental health. Any infection in the mother’s body increases her risk of experiencing pregnancy related complications. Gum problems in the mother have been known to lead to premature birth and low birth weight in infants. Gum disease puts both mother and baby at risk for serious health issues.

Few Examples of Oral Health affected by Medical Conditions:

Osteoporosis

This bone-weakening disease is linked with periodontal bone loss and tooth loss. Certain drugs used to treat osteoporosis carry a small risk of damage to the bones of the jaw.

Alzheimer's disease

Worsening oral health is seen as Alzheimer's disease progresses

How to prevent complications:

The best way to prevent serious health issues caused by bad oral health is to practice good oral hygiene and schedule regular visits with your dentist.

Some tips to stay health:

  • Brush your teeth at least twice a day for two minutes each time. Use a soft-bristled brush and fluoride toothpaste.
  • Floss daily.
  • Use mouthwash to remove food particles left after brushing and flossing.
  • Eat a healthy diet and limit sugary food and drinks.
  • Replace your toothbrush every three to four months, or sooner if bristles are splayed or worn.
  • Schedule regular dental checkups and cleanings.
  • Avoid tobacco use.

Good oral health not only enables you to functionally perform as a human being (i.e., speaking, smiling, smelling, eating), it is also important for communication, human relationships and financial prosperity.

If you are in Chilliwack and want to improve your Dental Health, then contact your Chilliwack Dentist Today

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