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Oral Hygiene – How It Impacts Your Overall Health

Your oral hygiene can have a major impact on your overall health. Gum disease has been linked to a variety of health issues, such as heart disease, stroke, diabetes, preterm labor and even Alzheimer’s.
Health conditions linked to oral hygiene
(Mayo Clinic, 2016)
While you might think your oral health is not that important, the true is it offers clues about your overall health and problems in your mouth can even affect the rest of your body.
As you might now, your mouth is packed with abundant bacteria which is harmless when your body is healthy, and you have good oral hygiene practices, such as brushing and flossing regularly. Per contra, without proper oral hygiene, bacteria can sabotage your health leading to infections, tooth decay and gum disease.
Also, some medications may contribute to produce less saliva, that is in charge of wash away rests of food in your mouth and neutralizes acids from bacteria. This helps to protect your mouth from microbial overgrowth that could lead to diseases.
Some studies show that oral bacteria and inflammation associated with gum disease might worsen some illnesses. Besides, more serious diseases like diabetes and HIV/AIDS can make oral problems even more severe, as they lower the body’s resistance to infection.
What conditions might be linked to oral health?
Endocarditis, an infection of the inner lining of your endocardium (your heart). This condition generally occurs when bacteria from other parts of your body spread through your bloodstream and attach to damaged areas in your heart.
Cardiovascular disease, as clogged arteries and strokes might be linked to the inflammations and infections that oral bacteria cause.
Pregnancy and birth difficulties, such as premature birth and low birth weight.
Diabetes reduces the body’s resistance to inflammation, causing gum disease to be more severe and frequent among people with this illness. Some research shows that it’s harder to control blood sugar levels for people with gum disease, and that regular periodontal care may improve diabetes control.
People with HIV/AIDS often have painful mucosal lesions and other oral problems.
Osteoporosis might be linked to periodontal bone and tooth loss, as the drugs prescribed to treat osteoporosis carry some risk of damage of the bones of the jaw.
Worsening oral hygiene is seen as Alzheimer’s disease progresses.
Other conditions linked to oral health can be eating disorders, rheumatoid arthritis, head and neck cancer and Sjogren’s syndrome, which causes dry mouth.
Now that you know how your health can be affected, always make sure to tell your dentist if you’re taking any medications or have recently been diagnosed with a chronical condition, such as diabetes.
Oral health: A window to overall health, Mayo Clinic, accessed July 21nd, 2018,

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