The mouth is the gateway to the rest of the body, so it’s no surprise that oral health can significantly impact overall health. In fact, poor oral health has been linked to several serious health conditions.
Good oral hygiene is important for more than just a healthy mouth. It’s also essential for preventing diseases that otherwise might spread throughout the body. This is why it’s important to stay on top of your oral health by doing anything that can promote good oral hygiene. Otherwise, you may be putting your overall health at risk.
But why is oral health often overlooked if the mouth is more than just the gateway to the body? For one thing, many people don’t realize how important it is. They may think that as long as they brush their teeth and floss regularly, they do enough to keep their mouths healthy. However, there’s more to oral health than just brushing and flossing. Here are ways your oral health can be affecting your overall health:
1. Gum disease can lead to other health problems
Gum disease is an infection of the gums that can lead to tooth loss if not treated. Plaque is a sticky film of bacteria that builds up on teeth. If plaque isn’t removed, it can harden into tartar, which spreads below the gum line and causes irritation. This can lead to gingivitis, an early stage of gum disease.
On the other hand, periodontitis is a more serious form of gum disease that can destroy the bone and connective tissue that support teeth. If not treated, aside from teeth loss, gum disease has been linked to other health problems like bacterial pneumonia and others. People may think gum disease is no big deal, but it’s a serious infection you must treat. Otherwise, it can lead to other health problems down the road.
2. Misaligned teeth can affect you in many ways
Misaligned teeth can cause several problems, both cosmetic and functional. They can make it difficult to chew and speak properly and increase the risk of gum disease and tooth decay. In addition, misaligned teeth can affect your appearance and self-confidence.
Fortunately, orthodontic treatments are easily accessible nowadays. For example, modern Invisalign aligners are practically unnoticeable, so no one will even know you’re wearing them. They can help straighten your teeth and improve your oral health. These aligners would improve not only your physical health but also your mental well-being.
While many people think that orthodontic treatment is just for cosmetic purposes, it’s also important for oral health. By aligning the teeth, orthodontic treatment can help to prevent gum disease and tooth decay. It can also make it easier to brush and floss properly, which helps to keep the mouth healthy.
3. Bad breath can affect mental well-being
Bad breath, or halitosis, can be caused by many things, including food, tobacco use, and gum disease. While it may not be a serious health problem, bad breath can be a social issue. It can affect your self-confidence and make you avoid social situations.
Like misaligned teeth, bad breath can cause problems with your mental well-being. It can even cause social withdrawal for some. Fortunately, there are ways to treat bad breath. For example, you can use a tongue scraper to remove the bacteria that cause bad breath. Strong mouthwashes are also available to help freshen your breath.
4. Oral cancer is on the rise
Oral cancer is a type of cancer that affects the lips, tongue, throat, and other parts of the mouth. It’s on the rise, especially in young adults. The Oral Cancer Foundation estimates that close to 54,000 people will be diagnosed with oral cancer alone.
While oral cancer is most common in older adults, it can affect people of all ages. The good news is that oral cancer is treatable if caught early. That’s why it’s important to see your dentist regularly for checkups. They can screen for oral cancer and catch it in the early stages when treatment is most effective.
5. Your oral health can affect your pregnancy
Myths about oral health during pregnancy are abundant. For example, some people believe you shouldn’t see the dentist when pregnant. Others think that it’s safe to use over-the-counter whitening products.
The truth is that your oral health can affect your pregnancy. When a person is pregnant, changes in the gums can occur. This can lead to gingivitis, an early form of gum disease. If left untreated, gingivitis can progress to periodontitis. This can make someone prone to other health problems discussed above. Worse, it could even make someone at higher risk of adverse pregnancy outcomes.
Keeping the mouth healthy during pregnancy is important. It can help to prevent and treat problems like gum disease. While the mouth may seem like a minor concern during pregnancy, it’s vital to your overall health while conceiving.
These are just a few ways oral health can affect your overall health. As you can see, taking care of your mouth and seeing a dentist regularly is important. Doing so can help you stay healthy and avoid potential health problems down the road.