Oral Health

How Oral Health Affects Your Overall Wellness

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Lack of good oral hygiene contributes to oral health problems. These dental problems may increase your risk of having chronic diseases. According to studies, fifty percent of the world’s populace is experiencing oral diseases. That’s a lot of people!

Hence, the need to maintain oral health far exceeds the desire for a confident smile or sweet-smelling breath. Poor oral hygiene and untreated oral problems can greatly affect the quality of people’s lives. If the eyes are the window into people’s innermost being, the mouth is a mirror that reflects the health condition of their body.

Recent researches indicate that there is a link between periodontal (gum) disease and heart diseases such as stroke. Moreover, 90% of all systemic health problems have manifestations in the mouth. Therefore, it is vital to understand how your overall wellness can be at risk if you have poor oral health concerns.

A Guide To Oral Health

People begin to learn about dental health from a very young age when teeth first begin to show up. But in spite of such early awareness, many people fail to maintain good dental health throughout their adult life. Good dental health comprises brushing and flossing your teeth every day, and regular visits to a dentist or dental hygienist as well.

Besides, people supplement their dental care with the use of products like mouthwash or advanced mouth care systems. You should keep in mind that the lack of adequate dental care practices will result in cavities and gum disease.

It is generally advised that you use a toothbrush with softer bristles so as to protect your gums. Some people, however, prefer power brush systems that help break up plaque and bacteria in your mouth. But it takes more than brushing to keep your teeth in good health. Some other steps need to be taken to ensure that people do not lose their teeth as they grow older.

To begin with, you should understand your own oral health needs. Your oral health depends on your diet, the type and amount of saliva in your mouth, your overall health, and your dental hygiene routine. Try to follow a daily routine in consultation with your dentist.

As fluoride strengthens developing teeth in kids and prevents decay in adults, toothpaste and mouthwashes containing fluoride should be used. You should brush at least twice a day, if possible three times or after every meal. You should also floss at least twice a day. Brushing and flossing will remove plaque, a complex mass of bacteria that constantly forms on your teeth.

Limit the consumption of snacks and follow a balanced diet plan. Tobacco in any form will enhance the risk of oral cancer and cause stains on your teeth. Visit your dentist regularly and get your mouth examined.

Can Oral Health Affect Overall Health?

Just like a house where the door is your main entry, your mouth is the main access point for bacteria, both harmless and harmful.  Without proper oral hygiene, harmful bacteria will grow in abundance and cause oral infections that will travel to other parts of your body. That’s why it will affect not only your oral health but your body’s overall health as well.

The following are nine health issues caused by poor oral health:

Alzheimer’s Disease

This is a common cause of dementia or the progressive decline in a person’s memory. Successive studies found that the bacteria P.gingivalis that causes gum disease can migrate from your mouth to your brain and increase your risk of developing Alzheimer’s.

Alzheimer’s is a neurodegenerative disease that is typified by the progressive weakening of cognitive skills, affecting all aspects of day-to-day activities. A person suffering from Alzheimer’s is likely to undergo severe behavioral changes.

The distinct and most striking symptom of Alzheimer’s disease is amnesia. In the early stages, a victim of Alzheimer’s is quite often found to be in a confused state and facing problems with short-term memory. There are usually problems with paying attention.

The personality of the person affected usually undergoes a massive change coupled with frequent mood swings and the language of the patient may be affected. However, it should be noted that Alzheimer’s disease does not affect everyone in the same way, and this can make the disease quite difficult to diagnose.

Alzheimer’s disease is not curable but there are treatments available that can slow its progress and there is promising research that may lead to a cure.

High Blood Pressure

Blood disorders can make your gums more prone to bleeding or becoming pale if you have gum disease. Therefore, any dental problem should be properly taken care of to prevent excessive bleeding.

High blood pressure and a high body weight index are closely related. Being overweight significantly raises a person’s risk of developing high blood pressure. An overweight person raises their risk by as much as six times. However, as a person starts to take the extra pounds off, their blood pressure typically goes down too.

Try to eat more fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy products, and lean protein. Avoid excessive alcohol consumption. Not only can it cause high blood pressure, it’s also bad for the liver and kidneys.

Although studies have not proven whether or not caffeine affects high blood pressure, some studies have shown that people who regularly consume caffeine each day have higher blood pressure than people who don’t. On the other hand, some studies have shown that people eventually develop a tolerance to caffeine and that it then no longer affects their blood pressure.

As a precautionary measure, physicians will usually advise patients with high blood pressure to limit their caffeine intake.

Eating Disorders – Bulimia and Anorexia

Anorexia Nervosa may happen to those people who think that their body is always overweight. This illness may occur in persons who have continuous diet regimens and eventually leads to restraining the person’s balanced eating.

Anorexia nervosa is mostly identified in female teenagers and those young women in their early adult stages. The known classic dieters do not consume any food in a day, which causes starvation. The self-starvation of a person is the point where he suppresses hunger sensations, which may lead an individual to become skeletal in appearance. These individuals are considered anorexic by type because they suffer from a phobia of gaining weight.

Bulimia can be truly associated with many dieters, especially those individuals aged 17 to 25 years old. The process of bingeing and purging of most bulimics can make an individual addicted to what he has started in his diet regimen.

Most of the time a person can no longer control the binge and purge cycle that can lead a person to be underweight and or even obese. However, most bulimics appear to be normal and have a normal body weight. Most of the time, the process in which they do their dieting is kept to themselves because most bulimics are shameful of their activities of bingeing and purging.

Nonetheless, the above eating disorders can cause permanent damage to your gums, teeth, and mouth. Important nutrients such as vitamin B, calcium, and iron boost your oral health. If they are lacking in your diet, your gums and the soft tissues in your mouth may easily bleed. You can have gum disease, tooth decay, and a severely dry mouth because your salivary glands may swell.

The accompanying stomach acid caused by frequent vomiting will flow on your teeth and damage your enamel, changing their color, length, and shape. They will also become brittle, translucent, and sensitive to hot and cold foods and drinks.

Celiac and Crohn’s Disease

These are autoimmune diseases that may both cause canker sores because they affect the gastrointestinal tract starting from the mouth. This may be because of an allergic reaction to certain bacteria in your mouth. People with these diseases have an increased incidence of tooth decay and are prone to having multiple cavities.

Celiac disease is also known as sprue, nontropical sprue, or gluten-sensitive enteropathy. Celiac disease occurs in people who cannot tolerate gluten, a protein substance present in barley, wheat, and rye. Celiac disease is a digestive disorder. There are also other digestive disorders that are often confused with celiac disease like irritable bowel syndrome.

Irritable bowel syndrome or IBS is often confused with celiac disease. IBS is considered to be the most common disorder. In North America, there is about 20 percent of Americans believed to have some form of IBS. Unfortunately, the treatment for IBS is not the same for celiac disease patients. There are times when celiac disease patients would not receive the appropriate treatment and can take a long time before the correct diagnosis is made.

Celiac disease is also misdiagnosed, sometimes, as Crohn’s disease. Crohn’s disease is an inflammatory bowel disease. It causes ulcers to form in the gastrointestinal tract anywhere from the mouth to the anus. Symptoms may include stomach cramps and pains that come and goes and blood in the stool. Similar to celiac disease, Crohn’s disease patients also experience diarrhea, sick feeling in the stomach, unexplained weight loss, and tiredness.

Crohn’s disease gets treated depending on the status of the gastrointestinal tract. When the disease is mild, medicines may still help. But for severe cases, steroids are generally used. There are times that even surgery may be necessary, but it cannot cure the disease. 

Diabetes 

Diabetes can cause persistent and severe dental problems like gum disease or tooth loss because the body’s resistance to bacteria is weakened. Periodontitis, a severe gum disease, can also make it very hard for diabetic people to control their blood sugar levels.

Type 2 diabetes is the most common form of diabetes. Yet, healthy eating is your recipe for managing diabetes. Of the more than 37 million Americans (about 1 in 10) with diabetes, 90% have type 2 diabetes, while the remainder has type 1, or insulin-dependent diabetes. Type 2 diabetes most often develops in people over age 45, but more and more children, teens, and young adults are also developing it.

In type 1 diabetes, the body’s own immune system damages the insulin-producing cells in the pancreas. Type 1 diabetes can’t be cured and requires daily insulin treatment. In contrast, type 2 diabetes can be managed by diet and lifestyle changes, although some people will also need medication to manage their blood sugar levels.

Type 2 diabetes occurs when the body doesn’t handle insulin well or cells stop responding to it, causing blood sugar levels to become too high. Over time, if it isn’t treated, high blood sugar causes serious damage throughout the body, resulting in vision problems, skin infections, and an increased risk of heart disease and stroke.

Heart Disease

Endocarditis is an inflammation of your heart’s inner lining that is usually caused by bacteria. Poor dental hygiene can cause bacteria to travel through your bloodstream and increase your chance of having this condition and other life-threatening heart problems like clogged arteries and stroke.

A heart attack is a sudden serious medical condition in which someone’s heart stops working, causing them great pain. It is the most common of heart diseases and occurs when blood flow to the heart and part of it is blocked, often by a blood clot, which is a thick almost solid mass formed when blood dries.

This situation is usually caused by arteriosclerosis a disease in which arteries become hard, stopping the blood from flowing through them smoothly. Sometimes, the clot is called coronary thrombosis or coronary occlusion, since is often caused by rupturing or tearing of plaque in an artery.

Muscle cells are damaged and die if the blood supply is cut off for a long time, leading to disability or death depending on the extent of the damage to the muscle.

A heart attack is also known as myocardial infarction, which can also occur when a coronary artery temporarily contracts or goes into spasm, decreasing or cutting the blood flowing to the heart.

A heart attack represents one or about half of all coronary heart disease deaths and can be caused by nearly all types of heart illness.

There exist three main symptoms to know when a heart attack occurs. One is the pressure or pain in the center of the chest, lasting more than a few minutes or going away and coming back. A second symptom is when pain spreads to the shoulders, neck, or arms. A third symptom consists of chest discomfort combined with light-headedness, fainting, sweating, nausea, or shortness of breath.

Obesity

Excessive accumulation of fat presents a risk to your oral health, especially from periodontal disease. The fat cells create many chemical stimuli and hormones that cause inflammation in your body and will lead to decreased immunity.

Obesity is not a simple condition of eating too much. It is now recognized that obesity is a serious, chronic disease although eating too much does add to the discomfort and problem of obesity. American eating habits are much different when compared to many other countries. They are mainly carbohydrate eaters and that’s where the problems lie.

Obesity is defined as having a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or higher. A BMI of 30, in most cases, means that an individual is about 30 pounds over their ideal weight. Calculating your BMI is the safest way to determine how overweight you are as it calculates your height-to-weight ratio to give you a very close estimate of what your weight should be.

Obesity not only impacts your overall health but can also lead to lower self-esteem, and cause depression and discomfort in social situations.

Respiratory Problems

Problems such as pneumonia may increase if you have poor oral health because the bacteria in your mouth may travel to your lungs and multiply.

Pneumonia is a common respiratory infection, affecting approximately 450 million people a year and occurring in all parts of the world. It is a major cause of death among all age groups, resulting in 1.4 million deaths in 2010 (7% of the world’s yearly total) and 3.0 million deaths in 2016 (the 4th leading cause of death in the world).

Pneumonia is inflammation and infection of the lungs, causing difficulty breathing, cough, and chest pain. Pneumonia can either affect one or both lungs and there are various forms of the disease. The most common causes of pneumonia are pulmonary infection with viruses (influenza, herpes simplex virus, varicella-zoster, adenovirus, respiratory syncytial virus), gram-positive bacteria (Streptococcus pneumoniae, Staphylococcus aureus, Streptococcus pyogenes) and gram-negative bacteria (Haemophilus influenzae, Klebsiella pneumoniae, Neisseria meningitides, Pseudomonas aeruginosa).

Pneumonia can be developed by anyone, at any age. However, elderly people and very young children are exposed the most to developing pneumonia. People with weak immune systems, chronic pulmonary obstructive diseases, internal dysfunctions (cirrhosis, kidney problems), people who have followed prolonged chemotherapy, and people who have suffered surgical interventions are also very susceptible to developing pneumonia. 

Pregnancy Complications 

Premature delivery and low birth weight may significantly increase because of poor dental hygiene. If your teeth and gums are not healthy, you are at risk of developing periodontal disease.

Pregnant women with gum disease are significantly more likely to go into early labor, according to the findings of a new study. Research discovered that women who entered labor early were one and a half times more likely (45%) to have gum disease than women who experienced a perfect pregnancy (29%).

Therefore, good oral health during pregnancy could help reduce the risk of premature birth. Regular dental checks, dental cleaning, and treatment of gum inflammation should be a vital part of pregnancy care to help prevent adverse outcomes including premature birth, a global University of Sydney review has found.

Final Thoughts

Many studies on various health issues show that poor oral health can affect your overall health. The two are connected in many ways. If uncontrolled, bacteria in the mouth can multiply and enter the bloodstream, affecting other parts of the body. Gum disease, in particular, has been linked to heart disease, diabetes, respiratory ailments, and even Alzheimer’s disease.

Your dentist is usually one of the first individuals to detect and diagnose a health problem and he can help you in identifying these diseases in their earliest phase.

Since maintaining good oral health is vital, you must strive to observe the proper standards of oral hygiene. Aside from personal practices such as brushing, gargling, and using dental floss, it is advisable for you to visit your dentist every 6 months.

Remember, most of these problems can be prevented by having regular check-ups with your dentist and rigorously practicing proper oral care. Surely you can appreciate that now is the time to practice better oral health care!

About The Author

About The Author

Ricardo is the quintessential Real Estate Junkie, Entrepreneur and Blogger, with over 30 years of customer service experience. The bold & visionary founder of Funntripps.com and RicardoNewbold.com, he teaches busy entrepreneurs and bloggers how to successfully build and grow their business whilst having fun and living the maximized life. He enjoys spending time with his family, multi-family real estate investing and surprise get-a-way trips with his wife.

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