Oral health and its effects on the body have been a topic of research recently. Some say it is the “window to your overall health” or the “mouth is the gateway to your body.” Some chronic conditions have been linked to poor oral health. Lifestyle choices can increase the risk of oral diseases and other conditions within the body.
The mouth is filled with bacteria, some harmless while others not so much. Routine oral hygiene can reduce the risk of infection in the mouth and gums by decreasing bacteria loads. By reducing this risk in the mouth, you reduce the risk for other conditions within the body.
By managing good oral hygiene, you reduce oral and dental diseases. Follow these simple steps:
Saliva neutralizes acids produced by bacteria in the mouth. It also washes away food. Some medications can reduce saliva production in the mouth. These include:
Acid-producing bacteria feed on sugar. The acid can break down tooth enamel, causing cavities. Bacteria at the gum line thrive in a sticky substance called plaque. This plaque hardens if not removed by brushing and flossing daily.
The plaque at the gum line can cause inflammation of the gums, known as gingivitis. This inflammation causes the gums to recede or pull away from the teeth, causing pockets for pus to collect. This process causes severe inflammation, also called periodontitis. Periodontitis may play a role in other inflammatory diseases within the body.
Other conditions that can affect oral health include eating disorders such as bulimia, rheumatoid arthritis (RA), chemotherapy treatments, and other autoimmune conditions.
Oral disease can affect how and what you eat. If pain occurs when eating, the outcome is poor nutrition, which leaves the body open to a variety of conditions. It is important to keep your mouth, gums, and teeth healthy. This will help you to live a longer, healthy life.
Author Profile: Christine Kijek, Registered Colorectal Nurse
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