Our Charleston orthodontist talks about what your teeth can tell you about your health

Why Oral Health Is an Indicator of Your Overall Health

Taking care of your oral health is extremely important, but did you know that your oral hygiene can have a huge impact on your body’s overall health?

There are some diseases and infections that can get into your body through your mouth. Not only is it important to prevent tooth decay, bad breath, and gum disease, but keeping your mouth clean can help prevent certain medical disorders.

Some diseases in your system have symptoms that manifest in your mouth. The good news is that there are ways to prevent them through great oral health.

Conditions That Poor Oral Hygiene Can Cause

Bacteria can enter your bloodstream through inflammation and irritation in your gums. This bacteria can then travel to your heart and build up in or harden your arteries, causing blockages that can lead to heart attack or strokes. Bacteria from your gums can also travel to your liver and cause damage there as well.

A fungal disease called oral thrush can develop if you don’t brush your teeth and floss enough. Oral thrush occurs when there is more than the normal amount of yeast in your mouth. The yeast coats your lips and tongue in a white, powdery substance. Oral thrush can easily be cured by your dentist.

Gingivitis is caused when you do not brush or floss enough. Gingivitis is the result of excess plaque building up on your gumline. Bacteria are drawn to this area and can cause an infection between your teeth and gums. If gingivitis is not treated quickly, it can develop into other forms of gum disease, such as periodontitis and trench mouth.

When you have braces, it is especially important to practice a high level of oral hygiene.

Oral Health Symptoms of Poor Overall Health

  • Tooth decay can be a symptom of diabetes, which affects the way your body produces and processes glucose (sugar).
  • Mouth sores/ulcers could mean you are eating something that irritates your mouth or that you bit your cheek or tongue. There are some serious conditions that can result in mouth sores. Human papillomavirus (HPV) and certain autoimmune disorders can cause serious, long-lasting mouth sores.
  • Bleeding gums can be an indicator that you have gum disease which can lead to infections throughout your body. Gum disease also is the main cause of tooth loss.
  • Worn down or eroded teeth can be a sign that you’re grinding your teeth at night. This can lead to worn-down teeth and may indicate sleep apnea, which means you grind and clench your teeth to try and breathe better while sleeping. Eroded teeth caused by frequent vomiting can be an early indicator that you are pregnant. The acid in your vomit can break down the exterior of your teeth.

How to Improve Your Oral Health

To keep your mouth, teeth, and gums happy and healthy, be sure to brush your teeth at least twice a day. Flossing your teeth daily is also essential to removing plaque and bacteria from between your teeth. Rinsing with a mouthwash every day can remove hard-to-reach bacteria from between your teeth.

A healthy and responsible diet is also key to a healthy mouth. Eating a healthy diet, limiting your sugar intake and drinking less sugary drinks can reduce the amount of tooth erosion that occurs from bacteria.

Be sure to visit your dentist regularly and schedule consistent check-ups. Dentists can spot any problems before they get too severe.

Most of these problems only occur if left unchecked for a long period of time. However, if you feel like you may have any of these symptoms, be sure to talk to your dentist as soon as possible.

If you want to learn more about how your oral health impacts your overall health, or how it affects your orthodontic treatment, contact us today at (843) 4-BRACES.

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