Why is Dental Health So Important?
Having a happy, healthy smile is often one of our first achievements and a goal we share with others. But good oral health is more than a smile on your face. It can help you prevent disease, fungal infections and the need for false teeth or implants. Research has shown that the health of your mouth has an impact on the overall health of your body. If you are in general good health, it stands to reason your teeth are generally strong, you have minimal signs of decay and no gum disease. However, if you have chronic issues such as periodontal/gum disease, mouth ulcers, dry mouth or excessive gum problems, these may be signs that there is something more serious going on.
- Mouth lesions are often the first sign of diabetes.
- Gum disease can be a warning sign of stroke or heart disease.
- Swollen gums, dry mouth and excessive gum problems have been associated with diseases such as leukemia, pancreatic cancer and kidney disease.
In fact, the Academy of General Dentistry says that more than 90 percent of all systemic diseases show oral signs and symptoms.
Saliva, plaque build up and bacteria
Your saliva contains antibodies that help protect you from harmful bacteria and viruses. But it can’t defend you from all illnesses. You have more than 500 species of bacteria in your mouth that constantly form plaque. Plaque is a sticky, clear film that clings to your teeth and can lead to health problems. Bacteria from your mouth doesn’t normally enter your bloodstream. However, plaque can build up along your gum line and lead to an infection known as gingivitis. This can weaken your mouth’s normal defenses and potentially lead to further contamination in other areas of your body.
Medication’s effect on oral health
Decongestants, antihistamines, pain killers and antidepressants have all been shown to reduce the flow of saliva. Be sure to talk to your dentist if you are taking any of these medications so they can help you devise a plan to counteract any potential negative side effects.