Maintaining good oral hygiene is one of the best ways to help keep your mouth healthy and prevent gum disease and dental decay. In this blog, our Ajax dentists share the ways a healthy mouth can help protect your overall health and wellbeing.
Practicing good oral hygiene is one reasonably reliable predictor of better dental health outcomes. This means you are more likely to keep your teeth as you age if you have good oral hygiene habits. Because dental health can impact overall physical wellbeing, good oral hygiene practices can have a positive impact on your overall health.
A Healthy Flow of Saliva
Saliva is a helpful diagnostic tool, that could help dentists and doctors find and diagnose systemic diseases before visible symptoms develop.
Also, saliva helps disable viruses and bacteria before they make their way into your system. Did you know saliva is one of the human body’s main defenses against disease-causing organisms?
Saliva consists of antibodies that attack viral pathogens, including the common cold and HIV. It's also made up of enzymes that destroy bacteria in several different ways, such as disrupting vital bacterial enzyme systems, degrading bacterial membranes, and inhibiting the growth and metabolism of some bacteria.
For the majority of people maintaining a healthy salivary flow healthy is fairly easy. The key is hydration! Make sure you are drinking 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 building dental plaque, a sticky, colourless film that sticks to your teeth and leads to a range of health issues.
If you don’t brush and floss your teeth regularly and thoroughly, you’re allowing dental plaque to build up between your gums and teeth, eventually leading to a gum infection called gingivitis. If gingivitis goes untreated it could cause 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 may cause you to develop 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.
Dental Plaque’s Connection to Common Conditions
Having a healthy mouth can help protect you from certain diseases and medical problems including heart attack, stroke, complications related to diabetes, as well as pre-term labour.
Poorly Controlled Diabetes
Chronic gum disease could make diabetes harder to control. The infection can lead to a resistance to insulin that could 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.