Taking care of your teeth is more than just about maintaining a perfect smile. You may not be aware of it, but the health of your teeth tells you a lot about how well you are taking care of your mind and body.
How is this so? Your mouth is the gateway towards your heart and respiratory and digestive tracts, which are vulnerable to various diseases. Poor oral health allows the further growth of bacteria, leading to inflammation in other parts of your body.
A regular trip to the dental clinic can help avoid issues with your oral and overall health. However, you should couple it with good habits to avoid issues that could compromise your welfare.
Health Issues Linked to Dental Health
The condition of your teeth, along with your tongue and mouth, can contribute to your susceptibility to certain diseases. It can also worsen some existing conditions. These are some that you should be mindful of.
1. Heart Complications
Gums are a vital part of your mouth. They keep your teeth in their proper positions and, at the same time, act as a layer of protection against bacteria. When they become inflamed, it compromises their ability to keep protecting your teeth and the rest of your body.
Endocarditis is an example of one infection of the inner lining of the heart caused by germs entering the bloodstream and reaching the heart. This is a serious condition that could lead to stroke, blood clots, kidney complications, heart failure, and other problems when left untreated.
Periodontitis is a form of gum disease that has ties to diabetes. People with diabetes have increased chances for infection, putting them at higher risk for gum problems, including periodontitis. Some research even suggests that the effective treatment of diabetes improves gum condition and that the treatment of periodontitis reduces insulin resistance.
This shows that proper dental care affects a person’s vulnerability to diabetes and possible complications that could arise from it.
3. Pregnancy Issues
Periodontitis is not just linked with diabetes. It is also a risk for pregnant women. CDC says that pregnancy may even increase a woman’s susceptibility to gum disease and cavities.
Pregnant women must practice proper dental care before childbirth, as the oral condition of the parent can have an effect on the oral health of the child. For instance, if the parent has cavities that do not receive proper dental attention, this increases the likelihood of the child to also have cavities as they grow up.
4. Respiratory Infections
Weak teeth and inflamed gums allow an individual to breathe in bacteria and other germs right into the lungs. This increases the risk for respiratory diseases such as pneumonia or aggravates existing lung conditions, including chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and asthma.
Additionally, dentures can also pose some risk for respiratory infections. When individuals do not remove their dentures and keep them soaked in denture solution overnight, bacteria can build up and travel to the lungs.
Avoid Problems with Good Practices
These complicated health conditions have simple solutions, however. It just takes good dental habits to help keep oral and other health issues away.
1. Brush your teeth and floss regularly
First, it is nonnegotiable to brush your teeth at least twice a day. Combine this practice with regular flossing and mouth washing, too, to cover all bases and ensure the cleanliness of your mouth.
Regarding the right toothpaste to use, choose a fluoride toothpaste that has a Seal of Acceptance from the American Dental Association. This assures you that the toothpaste has the right ingredients to keep teeth strong.
2. Choose what you eat
Unfortunately, protecting your oral hygiene also means watching your food intake. Food high in sugar is bad for your teeth, especially carbonated drinks that can slowly weaken enamel and sticky sweets that can get stuck on the teeth, making them harder to wash off. You should also be careful of different kinds of food that easily stick to the mouth and get trapped between the spaces of your teeth.
Instead, opt for healthy food, such as dairy products that are rich in calcium, which strengthen teeth. Meals that are high in fiber are a natural means of keeping teeth clean, too, as they help produce saliva that assists in breaking down food.
3. Visit your doctor regularly
Finally, we cannot stress enough the importance of a regular dental checkup. Your dentist will understand the condition of your teeth best and what you need to take care of your dental health. Do not forget to get a cleaning every six months or so, too, to keep your pearly whites in their best shape.