Your oral health is important if you want your smile to look and function right — but there’s more to it than that. Did you know that your oral health can have a direct impact on your health as a whole? In many cases, your oral care habits can make a huge difference and can even prevent many common health problems. Here are four ways that your oral health can affect your overall health and wellness.
1. Periodontal Disease
Periodontal disease is one of the most common oral maladies in the world. Affecting more than 50% of the population, and 65% of those over the age of 65. It is 100% preventable with impeccable oral health. When bacteria collects on your teeth and around your gums, plaque forms, if not taken care of it hardens into tartar, and this buildup of bacteria can begin attacking the gums. Brush after meals, and make sure that you floss thoroughly at least once each day to remove this plaque and the build of bacteria. Periodontal disease not only causes bad breath and tooth loss but has also been linked to many fatal illnesses such as heart disease, Alzheimer’s, and kidney disease to name a few. By taking care of your teeth and preventing the onset of periodontal disease you can help to prevent many other diseases and tooth loss.
2. Heart Disease
Heart disease can happen for a variety of reasons, but poor oral care has been proven to be a factor. When you suffer from advanced periodontal disease, the bacteria from the mouth can make its way into your bloodstream. Before long, the blood carries that bacteria to the heart, causing problems like hardening of the arteries or clogged arteries. If heart disease is left undiagnosed and untreated, the result can be stroke or heart attack. If you take good care of your teeth now, there’s a very good chance of preventing heart disease caused by periodontal disease in the long run. In addition to doing your regular oral care, make sure to see Dr. Brazdo for check-ups and cleanings on a recommended schedule to do your part in preventing heart disease. Of course, it’s also important that you maintain a healthy low-fat and low sodium diet when you’re trying to prevent heart disease.
3. Lung Problems
Periodontal disease can also lead to lung infections. This can range from milder respiratory problems to very serious health problems like pneumonia, which can even be deadly if not treated effectively. Although it may be hard to understand how taking care of your teeth can help you have healthier lungs, consider how damaging it could be to inhale bacteria and it all makes sense. You can have regular check-ups to make sure that periodontal disease hasn’t developed. Your good oral care can make a huge difference in preventing serious lung problems.
4. Cognitive Changes
When you have bacteria in the blood, your chances of cognitive changes can be increased. The bacteria from periodontal disease can get pass through the blood-brain barrier and be a factor in the development and progression of Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia. Fortunately, this is often preventable as long as you make continued effort to maintain great oral hygiene. Older patients are especially vulnerable to these types of cognitive changes, but it’s important that you begin good oral hygiene habits while you’re young and then maintain them into your golden years.
Preventing Health Problems
Preventing major health problems can begin right in your bathroom. It is important that you brush twice each day and floss every day to remove as much bacteria from between your teeth and gumline as possible. The prevention of gum disease is in your hands. If you’ve had problems with gum disease in the past, Dr. Brazdo may recommend extra visits and stricter hygiene practices to avoid a recurrence of the issue.
Having regular check-ups is also important. Most patients need to have two dental check-ups a year to ensure that their oral health is great. Dental cleanings can help you avoid health problems by removing both plaque and tartar. Most patients need dental cleanings one to two times a year, but if you currently suffer from periodontal disease you may need to have more frequent cleanings.