Studies linking oral health and general health are helping dentists teach patients how to stay well. We’re lucky to live at a time when science provides many keys to maintaining general good health.
While nutrition, physical activity, regular time out are all important to overall health, did you know oral health also plays a key role?
Most people aren’t aware of this important relationship. To avoid the pitfalls and give yourself the best chance of feeling good about your smile and health, here’s what you need to know.
Understand the Oral Health and General Health Relationship
The relationship between oral health and our general health shouldn’t be underestimated.
In fact, the two go hand in hand at every stage of life. A healthy mouth with good oral health helps with nutrition for the physical body. It also contributes to how a person feels about themselves in terms of overall wellbeing and self-esteem.
Almost like a “window” to the rest of the body, the mouth provides important health signals and a clear demonstration oral conditions have an impact on overall health and disease.
Bacteria from the mouth can cause infection in other parts of the body when the immune system has been compromised by disease or medical treatments.
Systemic conditions, such as heart disease and diabetes and their treatment, are also known to impact oral health. For patients with these conditions, their oral health is affected by factors such as reduced saliva flow and the balance of microorganisms in the mouth.
Some studies have found oral health can indicate development of major chronic diseases too. For example, periodontal (gum) disease has been associated with a number of systemic conditions.
Among these are cancer, diabetes and heart disease with which oral disease shares a number of risk factors, such as smoking, poor nutrition and poor oral hygiene.
While these links require further studies to prove whether one causes the other, there is certainly enough evidence to suggest good oral hygiene should be a priority.
Your dentist can help identify any risks that might be relevant for you. She can also work together with other medical professionals and devise a care program that complements any other treatment you might be receiving.
Be aware of the risk factors from poor oral health
The great news about oral health is it can be impacted by taking simple steps consistently.
We’d love to say it’s rocket science, but it isn’t. This means it’s also never too late to commit to an oral health program that makes you feel good and keeps you in good health.
Try these tips:
- Maintain a healthy diet that is made up of healthy, whole foods most of the time. Everyone likes to indulge once in a while; just don’t make it a habit (and brush afterwards!).
- As far as possible reduce (or preferably avoid) smoking and keep alcohol consumption to a minimum.
- Maintain good oral hygiene by regularly brushing, flossing and visiting your oral hygiene therapist at least every six months.
Make oral health a priority
Maintaining good oral health is something that’s done every day. It’s simply not enough to brush occasionally, floss never, and visit the dentist only in an emergency. You might be surprised this is the approach many people take.
Bespoke Dental takes a preventive approach to dental care and each patient’s overall health. And we encourage our patients do the same.
Your health is our priority and it should be yours too. Let’s work together to make it happen.
Bespoke Dental is a unique dental practice in Turner, Canberra. More than local Canberra city dentists, we’re people who make time for people like us: those seeking a better, healthier life.