Good oral hygiene helps you keep your mouth healthy, preventing dental decay and gum disease. Here, our Mississauga dentists explain how a healthy mouth can contribute to better overall health and wellbeing as well.
Practicing good oral hygiene is one reasonably reliable predictor of better dental health outcomes. This means you are more likely to keep your teeth as you age if you have good oral hygiene habits. Because dental health can impact overall physical wellbeing, good oral hygiene practices can have a positive impact on your overall health.
A Healthy Salivary Flow
Saliva is a helpful diagnostic tool, in that it can help doctors and dentists to identify and diagnose systemic diseases before their symptoms become apparent.
In addition, saliva can help disable bacteria and viruses before they enter your system. In fact, saliva is one of your body’s main defences against disease-causing organisms.
Saliva contains antibodies that fight viral pathogens like the common cold and HIV. It also contains enzymes that kill bacteria in a variety of ways, including degrading bacterial membranes, disrupting vital bacterial enzyme systems, and inhibiting some bacteria's growth and metabolism.
Most people find it simple to maintain a healthy salivary flow. The most important thing is to stay hydrated! Drink plenty of water throughout the day to keep your salivary flow healthy.
Dental Plaque & Infection
Your mouth houses over 500 species of bacteria that are constantly forming dental plaque, a sticky, colourless film that clings to your teeth and causes a variety of health problems.
If you don’t brush and floss your teeth regularly and thoroughly, you’re allowing dental plaque to build up between your gums and teeth, eventually leading to a gum infection called gingivitis. Left unchecked, gingivitis can lead to a more serious infection called periodontitis (gum disease).
If you have periodontitis, simply getting a dental treatment or brushing your teeth can allow the abundant bacteria in your mouth to enter your bloodstream.
If your immune system is strong, the presence of oral bacteria in your bloodstream will not cause any problems. However, if it is weakened, such as by a disease or cancer treatment, oral bacteria in your bloodstream may cause an infection in another part of your body.
Infective endocarditis, which occurs when oral bacteria enter the bloodstream and adhere to the lining of diseased heart valves, is one example.
Dental Plaque’s Link to Common Conditions
Having a healthy mouth may help you ward off certain diseases and medical problems such as stroke, heart attack, complications related to diabetes, and even pre-term labour.
Poorly Controlled Diabetes
Chronic gum disease may make diabetes more difficult to control. The infection may cause insulin resistance, which can disrupt blood sugar control.
Bacteria in the mouth can cause inflammation throughout the body, including the arteries, suggesting that gingivitis can contribute to clogged arteries and blood clots.
Furthermore, gum disease and tooth loss may contribute to plaque formation in the carotid artery.