Oral Care and its Impact on Overall Health
When it comes to maintaining a healthy lifestyle we think of the obvious: exercising regularly, taking vitamins, and sleeping 8 hours a day. By practicing these activities daily, we work towards strengthening our bodies and keeping illnesses at bay. Making healthy choices can be intimidating though– where do you start? One of the best practices to start with is actually one of the simplest: improving your oral care routine.
Poor oral hygiene doesn’t just affect our pearly whites. It makes sense– our mouths feed us, keep us hydrated, and allow us to breathe. If not maintained properly, our mouths can cause a myriad of health problems. Let’s start with the most basic:
We all know and... well, hate cavities. Caused by acid produced by bacteria, cavities are the break down and decay of tooth enamel. According to the CDC, cavities are one of the most common chronic diseases with more than 90% of adults having had at least one. Cavities can cause toothaches, sensitivities, and infections.
Most commonly known as gum disease, periodontal disease occurs when infections spread to the gums and bone of the mouth
While the issues above are directly associated with the mouth, there are countless others that can affect the entire body. If you’re wondering how that may be, it’s time for a quick biology lesson.
The mouth is home to a mucous membrane that lives under the tongue. The membrane contains a high quantity of blood vessels, or capillaries, which link directly to your bloodstream. If you’ve ever taken medication in pill form, you may know that dissolving it under the tongue can cause the effects to kick in faster than if you were to swallow it. At this point you may be wondering what this has to do with brushing your teeth– don’t worry, we’re getting there. Without proper oral hygiene, the bad bacteria that builds in your mouth can easily absorb into your blood stream. The bloodstream travels to the rest of your body, depositing the bacteria in other areas along the way.
When suffering from periodontal disease the bacteria can absorb into your bloodstream. Similarly to your teeth, plaque can form in the arteries and harden, causing blood flow problems and blockages. As a result the likelihood of experiencing a stroke or heart attack increases.
The bloodstream leads to the lungs, and once infected by bacteria, respiratory infections can occur. These may lead to respiratory illnesses like pneumonia and acute bronchitis.
If you suffer from periodontal disease, you develop an increased risk of developing inflammation sensitivities in other parts of your body.