Oral Health for Overall Health

Poor Oral Health: The Silent Culprit

Good oral health is so much more than a nice smile and teeth that don’t hurt.  There are many ways that the health of your mouth relates to your overall health.  It is important to maintain good dental hygiene to keep a positive connection between your mouth and the rest of your body. 

How is dental health connected to overall health?

The best way to look at it is that your mouth is the gateway to both your digestive and respiratory tracts.  Good practices, like brushing your teeth and flossing, can keep bacteria under control.  However, it is important to understand that without proper dental care bacteria from the mouth can easily lead to infection and that can lead to disease. 

Another factor that may cause issues that you may not consider is medication.  Some medications can reduce saliva flow.  These medications can include antidepressants, painkillers, diuretics and more.  We use saliva to wash away food and neutralize acids produced by bacteria.  This action helps to protect you from bacteria that can lead to disease as well.  Your dentist should know about any medications you may be taking.

What are some potential issues related to poor oral hygiene?

A few to note:

  • Cardiovascular Disease – Periodontal disease, a disease from the bacteria of an infection in your mouth, has been connected to heart disease, stroke and clogged arteries. 
  • Diabetes – Diabetics have a lowered immune system.  This means they are more likely to get infections.  Gum disease is more frequent in diabetics.  It is especially important for diabetics to maintain good dental care in order to prevent complications as a result from their disease.
  • Respiratory Infections – When you consider that your mouth is the gateway to both your digestive and respiratory tracts, this one is easy to understand.  Bacteria from your mouth can enter your lungs and cause pneumonia or other respiratory problems.
  • Dementia – Both dementia and Alzheimer’s disease have been linked to the bacteria from gingivitis.  This is especially true in those that have had gingivitis for a long time.

Other potential threats that can be a direct result of poor oral hygiene include pregnancy complications, osteoporosis, endocarditis and more.

Measures You Can Take to Protect Oral Health:
  • Don’t forget to brush your teeth at least two times a day for two minutes using fluoride toothpaste
  • Like your dentist tells you – floss daily
  • Use mouthwash
  • Don’t use tobacco products
  • Maintain a healthy diet and keep sugar to a minimum
  • See your dentist for regular checkups and cleaning
  • Make an appointment as soon as any oral issues come up

Consider that taking care of your oral health is investing in your future health.  That investment will show you many future returns.  If you are in need of dental insurance or guidance on how to get dental insurance, please feel free to reach out to me at any time.  I work with Ameritas (you can see any dentist of your choice with this plan), Mutual of Omaha, Humana and more.  I look forward to helping you!

*Gilliam Insurance Advisor is not approved by, endorsed by, or affiliated with a government agency. 

*Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay 

 

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