Maintaining a good oral hygiene routine can help keep your mouth healthy as well as prevent gum disease and dental decay. In this blog, our Timmins dentists discuss how a healthy mouth can help improve your overall health and wellbeing.
Practicing good oral hygiene is one reasonably reliable predictor of better dental health outcomes. This means if you have good oral hygiene habits you have a better chance of keeping your teeth as you get older. Since dental health can affect your overall physical wellbeing, good oral hygiene habits can have a positive impact on your overall health.
A Healthy Salivary Flow
Saliva is a helpful diagnostic tool, as it helps doctors and dentists find and diagnose systemic diseases before their symptoms become apparent.
Also, saliva can help disable bacteria and viruses before they make their way into your system. Actually, saliva is one of the human body’s main defenses against disease-causing organisms.
Saliva contains antibodies that attack viral pathogens, such as the common cold and even HIV. It also contains enzymes that destroy bacteria in several different ways, for instance by degrading bacterial membranes, disrupting vital bacterial enzyme systems, and inhibiting the growth and metabolism of some bacteria.
Keeping your salivary flow healthy is fairly easy for many people. The key is to stay hydrated! Remember to drink lots of water during the day to keep a healthy salivary flow.
Dental Plaque & Infection
Your mouth is home to over 500 species of bacteria that are continuously forming dental plaque, a sticky, colourless film that sticks to your teeth and causes a range of health issues.
If you don’t regularly brush and floss your teeth thoroughly, you’re letting dental plaque build up between your teeth and gums, eventually causing a gum infection known as gingivitis. If it goes untreated, gingivitis leads to a more serious infection called periodontitis (gum disease).
If you have periodontitis, simply undergoing a dental treatment or just brushing your teeth can provide a port of entry for the abundant bacteria in your mouth to enter your bloodstream.
If your immune system is healthy, the presence of oral bacteria in your bloodstream will not cause problems. However, if it has been weakened, for example by a disease or by cancer treatment, oral bacteria in your bloodstream could cause an infection in another part of your body.
Infective endocarditis, which is when oral bacteria enter the bloodstream and stick to the lining of diseased heart valves, is an example of this.
Linking Dental Plaque to Common Conditions
Having a healthy mouth may help you ward off certain diseases and medical problems such as stroke, heart attack, complications related to diabetes, and even pre-term labour.
Poorly Controlled Diabetes
Chronic gum disease could make it more difficult to control diabetes. The infection can cause a resistance to insulin, which can disrupt blood sugar control.
Bacteria in the mouth may cause inflammation throughout the body, including the arteries, meaning gingivitis may play a role in clogged arteries and blood clots.
In addition, gum disease and tooth loss may contribute to the development of plaques in the carotid artery.