Poor oral health is linked to a number of general health conditions. Recent research shows why mouth care really does matter. Good oral health is important to be able to eat, drink, speak comfortably and smile with confidence. It’s also important to be free of pain and discomfort as well as having better quality of life.
The mouth contains millions of bacteria, both good and bad. Negligence of regular mouth care causes the harmful bacteria to multiply out of control. This affects the rest of the body in a number of harmful possible ways. Oral bacteria are the cause of the two most common dental diseases, dental decay and gum disease.
Dental decay, also called dental caries, is a result of metabolizing sugar in the mouth. Harmful bacteria synthesizes the sugar producing acid that causes cavities in the teeth over time. Research shows that dental decay and its corresponding symptoms correlates directly to frequency of sugar consumption.
Gum disease generally occurs when ineffective, tooth brushing or an absence of tooth brushing. This leads to a buildup of bacteria in the mouth commonly known as plaque. Plaque is a white sticky substance that develops on teeth and leads to inflammation of the gums. In turn, this can affect the underlying bone leading to tooth mobility, tooth loss or receding.
Toxins in your Mouth: Risk of Heart Disease
Recent research studying factors that increase risk of heart and circulatory disease found that one of these factors is gum. Gum is the habitat of millions of oral bacteria that produces toxins. These toxins can enter into the bloodstream and travel to other parts of the body.
Up to one hundred million bacteria can live on a single tooth. If there is gum inflammations, the toxins and the bacteria itself can enter through the weakened blood vessels and enter the bloodstream. Bacteria also inhibits gaps between teeth, allowing them to enter the bloodstream though damaged gums. The dental bacteria travel through the bloodstream and researchers have found traces of them in heart arteries and other sensitive blood vessels. Once there, bacteria can attach to areas such as your arteries and valves and cause inflammation. It may contribute to any tiny clots or inflammation elsewhere in the blood vessels which may lead to cardiovascular disease.
It may also cause damage to the endocarditis – inner lining of the heart chamber and valves – when these harmful bacteria enter the bloodstream of a susceptible individual. For instance, if somebody with a prosthetic heart valve, bacteria colonizes the lining of the heart, which may cause inflammation of the heart valves. A newly published research studying gum disease in sample of thousands of people shows that people with gum disease are more likely to develop coronary heart disease.
Oral Health and Diabetes
Gum disease can lead to poor blood sugar control, and poorly controlled blood sugar increases severity of gum disease. Research showed that people with moderate to severe gum disease are 69% more susceptible to developing type 2 diabetes. In turn, diabetes and unbalanced blood sugar may increases the risk of risk of developing valve or coronary heart disease, which may result in worse gum disease condition. Gum disease can also upset the body’s immune system, making it harder to protect the blood steam.
People with diabetes are also at higher risk of developing oral thrush, also known as oral candidiasis, and dry mouth. An increasing amount of evidence links poor oral care to community and hospital acquired pneumonia. Although, the risk of developing pneumonia is higher in compromised patients.
Benefits of Maintaining Good Oral Health and Hygiene
Research shows that good oral hygiene reduces the risk of developing gum disease and subsequently the associated risk of diabetes and heart disease. There’s also evidence linking poor oral health and bad oral hygiene to a number of other general health conditions, including stroke, dementia, premature birth and some types of cancer.
However, this evidence is not very strong. Further research is needed to prove such link between the oral hygiene and the aforementioned diseases. That said, having a comfortable mouth is very important for better quality of life.
A common reason that prevents people from eating and ingesting healthy foods is bad oral health. Good oral care prevents chewing pain, broken & loose teeth or a very dry mouth. Which makes it much easier to eat comfortably and have healthy diet.
Supporting people with good mouth care and promoting the importance of good oral health can have a positive impact on their general health and well-being. Oral Health and Oral Hygiene is no longer a luxury and governments should not treat it with carelessness.