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How Your Oral Health and Overall Well-Being Connect

Oral Overal lHealth

As they say, a healthy mouth is a happy mouth. But did you know that it can also mean a healthier you?

By keeping your teeth and gums in good condition, you’ll not only save your smile, but you’ll reduce your risk for other potential health conditions down the road. Here’s how a few daily habits that can help you maintain a good connection between your oral health and overall well-being.

Oral Health Meets Overall Health

If you don’t brush and floss well, you’re setting up an inflammation process in your body. When your mouth produces inflammation indicators, then biochemically speaking, your entire body will respond to them.

Your oral health is can be a great indicator of your overall health. They’re not separate entities, and what’s more, some diseases that show up in the body are actually related to processes that are happening in the mouth.

Likewise, diseases that manifest in the mouth can be early signs of things that are going on in the body. For example, when kids get their first fever, it’s sometimes related to the herpes simplex virus, which is very common. In adults, cold sores or inflamed gums can indicate re-emergence of the virus since it never truly leaves your body, it just goes dormant.

Potential Health Links

You likely know that neglecting your oral hygiene can lead to tooth decay and eventually tooth loss, but research shows it goes far beyond these undesirable outcomes.

Your mouth is a gateway to the rest of your body, and a number of diseases and conditions may be affected by the quality of one’s oral health. These include cardiovascular disease, diabetes, osteoporosis and Alzheimer’s disease. Inflammation caused by periodontitis (severe gum disease) can worsen some conditions.

On the flip side of that, some diseases can make your body more susceptible to infection and aggravate any existing oral health problems. The mouth can also provide clues to the presence of certain conditions: dry mouth from diabetes, pain radiating to the jaw from heart disease, and pale gum tissues from anemia.

Also, some medications that are made to alleviate problems in the body, such as allergies and edema, can also worsen oral health issues. These include decongestants, antihistamines and diuretics. Because they reduce saliva flow, the mouth loses some of its natural ability to wash away food and the destructive bacteria that leads to gum disease and tooth decay.

Protect Your Oral Health

Forming some good oral habits now will boost your overall health for the long run. Invest in your health by following these easy steps:

  • Brush your teeth twice daily, or three times a day if you wear braces. Take special care to brush places that are hard for your toothbrush to reach.
  • Brush your tongue to remove additional bacteria that may be lurking (and freshen your breath, too).
  • Floss at least once a day, or use a water flosser if you have trouble navigating around your braces.
  • Eat healthy foods and keep between-meals snacks at a minimum. More frequent eating leads to more bacteria production and more acidic conditions in your mouth which is detrimental to the enamel on your teeth.
  • Replace your toothbrush every three months, or sooner if the bristles become frayed.
  • Visit your dentist every six months for a regular checkup and cleaning. Set a reminder in your calendar so you never forget!

Over to You

Were you surprised to learn your oral health can impact your overall well-being? Share your feedback in the comments.

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