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Oral Health: It’s Not Just About the Teeth in Your Mouth

Because your mouth is more than just teeth, your overall health is tied to good oral hygiene. How is this possible? Medical reports reveal that the health of your gums, salivary glands and tongue all play a role in the dental health and general health. Other important parts include the oral mucosa, jaws, uvula and frenulum. All of these parts are affected by your oral health. Let’s take a look at how these pieces of the puzzle fit together when it comes to oral health.

Gums and Tongue

If you have red or swollen gums that bleed, you may have gum disease. Left untreated, gum disease can affect your health in other ways. For example, if you have a chronic condition such as diabetes, gum disease becomes worse. In this case, you should work with a dental professional to take care of the problem for the sake of your general health.

Your tongue plays a major role in your digestive system, so it pays to keep it healthy. When it comes to your tongue, there are signs indicative of a possible health issues. If you have pain, changes in color or difficulty tasting food or beverages, an oral disorder may be to blame. Getting the proper diagnosis and treatment is necessary to keep matters from getting worse.

Salivary Glands

Salivary glands are important to your oral health. These glands make saliva that is necessary to keep your mouth from being dry and offer protection against tooth decay. A persistent dry mouth can lead to serious health problems, including mouth sores and infections. Sometimes medical conditions and even medications can contribute to dry mouth. It is best to see a medical professional to discuss possible treatments. Good oral hygiene, staying hydrated and avoiding caffeine and tobacco can help.

Upper and Lower Jaw

Jaws are necessary for proper food chewing and for the structure and movement of your mouth. When you have jaw pain, this becomes an indicator of possible poor oral health. Tooth aches, sinus problems, headache and even gum disease can cause stress in the upper and lower jaw.

The Oral Mucosa

Perhaps you have never heard of or want to hear about your oral mucosa, but it is important to your oral and overall health and worth mentioning. The oral mucosa is a mucus membrane in your mouth that protects your mouth and body from germs and other harmful bacteria that may enter your mouth. Without this protection, your mouth and overall heath can be compromised.

The Uvula Protection

When you open your mouth, you can see the pendulum shaped object at the back of your throat called the uvula. This soft palate secretes mucous and other fluids that provide needed lubrication. The function of the uvula is to protect your naval cavity by funneling secretions to the back of the tongue. When oral conditions cause the uvula to become infected with bacteria, problems with the tonsils may occur, and in worst case scenarios, cancer may develop.

The Frenulum Linguae

The frenulum linguae is the part of the mouth that connects the tongue to the floor of the mouth. It’s an important part that helps your tongue perform its job relative to eating, speaking, chewing and digesting food. Poor oral hygiene can cause the frenulum linguae to become swollen and poor nutrition may result, affecting not only your mouth but your general health as well.

Because your mouth consists of more than just your teeth, staying on top of all parts with regard to oral hygiene contributes to your overall health. From your gums to your uvula, watch for signs of ill health and consult with your dental professional sooner rather than later.