Your oral health and general health are connected much greater way than you may realize. Good oral health promotes good general health, and many times symptoms of serious health issues may show up as oral health problems. According to the Dental Health Foundation in Ireland many serious health issues such as heart disease and cancer share common risk factors as oral health diseases. According to the Mayo Clinic there is also a link between tooth decay and gum disease and your risk for heart disease and stroke.
Bacteria in your mouth can cause inflammation and periodontitis, a serious gum disease. People with compromised immune systems, HIV/AIDS, and diabetes are at greatest risk for health complications linked to periodontitis. Since their immune systems are compromised even a minor infection can become a serious health issue.
Antihistamines, decongestants, diuretics, antidepressants, and painkillers may reduce saliva flow. Saliva neutralizes acids and washes away food which protects your mouth from a bacterial infection or overgrowth which may lead to disease.
So, what can be done to protect your oral and general health? The steps may be simpler than you think.
- Brush twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste
- Floss everyday
- Limit between meal snacks and eat a healthy diet
- Replace your toothbrush every three to four months, or sooner if it is showing signs of wear
- Schedule and keep up with regular dental checkups
- Avoid tobacco use including chewing tobacco
Your best hedge against an oral health issue affecting your general health is a regular dental checkup and professional teeth cleaning. At your checkup your doctor can track any changes in your oral health and alert you to any developing problems. These problems can then be addressed before they become serious. Regular professional teeth cleaning keeps harmful bacteria at bay and removes plaque and tartar which can cause tooth decay and periodontal disease.
Call or contact us today and make an appointment for your next dental checkup or if you have any questions about the connection between oral and general health.