There is a direct connection between the health of your mouth and your overall health. While it might seem like having dental issues and other mouth problems are isolated from the rest of your health concerns, they might actually be related. This is why it’s important to see a dentist regularly for cleanings and checkups.
How mouth health can impact overall health
There are several ways mouth health can impact overall health, and you might be surprised to learn about how it’s all connected. Your mouth is full of bacteria, which can enter your bloodstream quickly. If you end up with particularly harmful bacteria in your mouth, you can end up making yourself really sick.
Gum disease is an indication of other health problems
Gum disease is linked to many illnesses, including respiratory disease, osteoporosis, diabetes, heart disease, and rheumatoid arthritis. It’s also linked to heart attacks. Researchers from the University of North Carolina School of Dentistry analyzed the medical histories of more than 1,000 dental patients. Their research revealed that people with gum disease were twice as likely to die from a heart attack and three times more likely to have a stroke.
Gum disease is an even bigger problem than many people realize. Gum disease is a form of chronic inflammation. Chronic inflammation has extremely negative effects on the body.
When your gums are inflamed, it can allow harmful bacteria into your bloodstream and that bacteria can go straight to your heart and other organs.
Is gum disease the cause or effect of other health issues?
It’s hard to say whether gum disease is the cause or the effect of other health issues. Although, it could be both in varying contexts. Mouth health and other diseases are so interlinked that it’s hard to say for sure that it’s one way or the other all the time.
For instance, some studies have shown that when diabetes is treated, mouth health improves. Other studies have shown that treating periodontal disease reduces the need for insulin.
5 Tips to maintain a healthy mouth
When your goal is to have a healthy mouth, here are 5 simple tips that will help.
- Get regular dental cleanings
Most people get cleanings every six months, but you should get cleanings at least once a year at the very least. Having your teeth professionally cleaned is the best way to keep your gums in good health. It’s also a good way to know if your gums are inflamed and get solutions for reducing that inflammation.
- Be mindful of your medications
While you can’t stop taking essential medications, it’s important to take note of which ones reduce saliva flow. For instance, decongestants, painkillers, diuretics, antidepressants, and antihistamines can make you produce less saliva. You need saliva to neutralize acids produced by the bacteria in your mouth, which prevents them from multiplying.
When taking these types of medications, take extra care to brush, floss, and use mouthwash to rinse more regularly.
- Brush your teeth after you eat
Brushing your teeth after you eat is a good way to keep your mouth clean. It’s not always convenient, though, especially if you’re at work or out with friends. To make it easy, just keep a small travel toothbrush in your bag or pocket. Even brushing with water in the restroom before you leave a restaurant is better than nothing.
- Embrace mouthwash
Mouthwash is one of those things some people only think about when they want fresh breath. Do you take a quick swish before giving a speech, or before meeting up with a friend? That’s a good reason to use mouthwash, but it’s also an excellent part of a daily healthy mouth routine.
Mouthwash can be used after you brush and floss, but it can also be used after you eat to dislodge particles of food from between your teeth. If you can’t brush or floss, mouthwash is a good option to keep your mouth clean.
- Handle your dental needs
If you have a dental issue that needs attention, don’t let it go too long. Not taking care of your dental needs can harm your health even more. If you have a broken or rotting tooth, for example, it’s important to get it fixed before it becomes an even bigger problem.
Take care of your mouth to stay healthy
Since your health can be negatively affected by poor mouth health, do whatever you can to keep your mouth healthy. Brush often, floss, and get those regular dental checkups to make sure your mouth is in good health.