Research has shown a definitive connection between poor oral hygiene that’s gone unchecked and the increase on the severity of chronic health conditions. That’s because inflammatory agents associated with oral diseases can easily travel throughout your body, spreading bacteria that exacerbates other diseases. The medical community reports that an unhealthy mouth serves as a good indicator of other health problems.
Chronic diseases and conditions such as diabetes, heart disease and stroke are made worse due to poor oral health. Other health problems connected to oral diseases include:
- Pregnancy risks: Past studies have indicated a connection between long term periodontal disease and an increased risk of pre-term labor and low-birth weight.
- Oral cancer: Although more common in the elderly population, the risk oral cancer is higher with the presence of untreated oral diseases.
The good news is that a change in daily habits can improve your oral health and decrease your risk for developing these diseases. The first step in changing is education. We’ve outline what you need to know about your diet and lifestyle so you can make informed decision.
Your Diet Does Matter
What you eat and drink impacts your oral health. Eating certain foods has an impact on both your oral health and your general health. One of the biggest culprits in your diet and in terms of oral health is sugar consumption. According to the American Dental Associations, a diet heavy in sugar is and diet that contributes significantly to tooth decay and gum diseases. This is because sugar produces enzymes and acids that thrive in the mouth and work to destroy your teeth and gums. Another diet concern is alcohol consumption. Alcohol can dehydrate your mouth. A dry mouth can be a breeding ground for expedited bacteria growth.
Lifestyles and Dental Health
Smoking: The way you live also impacts your dental health. For instance, if you are a smoker, your dental health can be at risk. Chemicals released from tobacco are quite toxic to gums. Constant tobacco can lead to gum disease and tooth decay. In some cases, tobacco use can increase the risk of oral cancer. Also, cigarette or cigar smoke can stain your teeth and contribute to halitosis, or bad breath.
Medications: If you take prescription medicines for whatever reason, know that some medications have an adverse effect on oral health. For example, some common medicines that treat high blood pressure and sinus conditions can create a dry mouth. This means there is less saliva. A reduction is saliva flow lessen your mouth’s natural defense against bacteria that can cause gum disease, tooth decay and bad breath. Some medicines can also cause teeth discolorations that detract from physical appearances and self-confidence.
Taking Care of Your Teeth for the Sake of Overall Health
So now that you know the connection between oral and general health, here’s what to do to put the brakes on poor oral hygiene.
- Clean up your diet – Eat a more balance diet with less sugar to reduce chances of tooth decay. Drink more water instead of sugary drinks.
- Stop smoking. This reduces the chance of oral cancer caused by tobacco smoke.
- Review your medicines with your primary care physician to determine if more dental friendly substitutions can be made.
- Regularly brush and floss your teeth. Brush for at least 2 – 3 minutes, twice a day.
- See your dentist regularly for cleanings and exams. Doing this can aide in early detection of oral health conditions.
Studies have shown that many health problems can be linked to poor oral health. This includes chronic conditions such as heart disease, strokes, diabetes and other vascular conditions. Good oral health promotes a healthier you. Changing certain diet and lifestyle factors can help improve your oral health.