Healthy Mouth, Healthy Body

It may not seem obvious, but the truth can’t be denied. If you don’t look after your mouth, your body will suffer. Since the mouth is full of bacteria, your gums can easily get infected, which, naturally, leads to a response of the immune system and the gums become inflated. If the inflammation is not treated properly, it will continue to develop and attack the gums and bone structure. This is called periodontitis and as a result, our teeth lose their support and start falling out.
This is the simplest result of neglecting oral hygiene, which means there are other consequences, too. Many serious illnesses can get aggravated or caused by poor oral hygiene, which is why it’s of utmost importance to look after our teeth and mouth. Here are just some of the problems that can occur if you neglect your oral hygiene.

One of the strongest connections between the mouth and body is definitely the one between periodontitis and diabetes. With more and more people suffering from diabetes due to inappropriate diet, lack of exercise or other reasons, there’s really no need to add another risk to the mixture. Once the mouth gets inflamed, the body is no longer able to control blood sugar successfully.
People suffering from diabetes lack insulin, which is the hormone that converts sugar into energy. With periodontal disease, the inflammation affects the body’s ability to utilise insulin. Also, high blood sugar creates perfect conditions for infections to develop. So, make sure you treat gum infections properly, especially if you suffer from diabetes.

Heart problems
Research shows there is significant correlation between gum and heart disease, with the number of people with heart disease suffering from periodontitis being much higher than the number of people who don’t have a heart condition. Scientists are still trying to figure out the exact type of connection, but what we know at the moment is that there are a few risk factors in common, such as smoking, unhealthy diet and obesity.
One of the theories suggests that inflammation in the mouth leads to inflammation in the blood vessels, which can make you more prone to heart attack. Namely, when blood vessels are inflamed, less blood travels between the heart and the rest of the body, which means that blood pressure goes up. Another potential danger is that fatty plaque damages the blood vessel walls, so that blood can even travel to the brain, which can lead to a stroke.

Pregnancy complications
We have all heard about the problems that prematurely born babies have, such as lung and heart conditions and learning disorders. It’s true that there are many factors that influence premature birth, but it seems that infection and inflammation, including those in your mouth, can also be one of them.
That’s why all experts recommend a thorough periodontal exam before or during pregnancy. The sooner the potential problem is identified, the less damaging it will be to both mother and the foetus.
With so many negative effects of smoking, it’s pretty obvious that those who can’t give up that bad habit are seriously damaging their health and those of others. When it comes to the connection between smoking and oral hygiene, it’s worth pointing out that smokers are three times more likely to suffer from severe gum disease than non-smokers. That’s because nicotine makes blood vessels constrict, which affects the gums’ ability to fight infection.  Even the best cosmetic dentist, like the Australian expert Luke Cronin, whose virtuosity in transforming teeth into beautiful smiles has even been featured in Vogue Australia, needs more time for corrective action to  teeth and gums that have been exposed to nicotine over longer periods of time. 

When talking about bone loss, people usually think of osteoporosis, but periodontitis also leads to the same problem. The difference is that osteoporosis affects the long bones in the limbs, while gum disease affects the jawbone. Also, women are prone to the former, while men are more prone to the latter. Still, recent studies suggest that women with osteoporosis are also more likely to suffer from gum disease than those who don’t have problems with osteoporosis. It could be the case that inflammation caused by periodontitis weakens other bones as well, but scientists are still trying to confirm that theory.

Other conditions
We are witnessing more and more correlations between oral health and general health. Many studies have been conducted and ever more are in progress, examining various mouth-body connections. The links seems to appear with conditions like rheumatoid arthritis, pneumonia, COPD and obesity, to name but a few.
What we know so far is that the health of your mouth affects the health of your body and vice versa.  That means that we have to look after our teeth and mouth if we want to prevent other health issues. Paying regular visits to our dentists and oral hygienists is vital if we want to have healthy mouth and body. Also, we should be setting an example to our children that no-one else will look after our health if we don’t do it ourselves.


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