We all know that brushing and flossing are important for keeping our teeth and gums healthy, but did you know there’s a link between oral health and overall health?
By taking care of your teeth and gums, you can reduce your risk of a range of health problems, from cardiovascular disease to pregnancy complications. If you have concerns about your oral health or would like to schedule a dental check-up, book an appointment at our trusted Sydney dental clinic today.
The Most Common Health Risks Linked to Poor Oral Health
When you have gum disease, harmful bacteria can enter your bloodstream and travel to your heart, causing inflammation and damage to your blood vessels. This build-up of plaque in your arteries can increase your risk of heart attacks and strokes.
If you have diabetes, you’re more prone to gum disease, which can make it harder to control your blood sugar levels. This two-way relationship between diabetes and oral health means that taking care of your teeth and gums is crucial for managing your diabetes and preventing complications.
Some respiratory infections, like pneumonia, can be caused by bacteria that come from your mouth. People with gum disease or dirty dentures are more likely to have these harmful bacteria in their mouths, which can then be inhaled into their lungs and cause infections. You can help prevent the harmful build-up of bacteria in your mouth by maintaining good oral hygiene — see our tips below.
Pregnancy and Birth Outcomes
Pregnant women with gum disease are more likely to have complications like low birth weight and preterm birth. This means that taking care of your teeth and gums during pregnancy is crucial for the health of both you and your baby.
Did you know that there’s a fascinating link between rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and oral health? Studies have shown that individuals with RA are more likely to suffer from gum disease, and gum disease can actually worsen symptoms of RA. However, there’s good news too as treating gum disease can actually help reduce symptoms of RA.
If you have osteoporosis, you should be aware that certain medications used to treat it can increase your risk of medication-related osteonecrosis of the jaw (MRONJ). This rare but serious condition can be prevented by keeping your mouth healthy and avoiding dental procedures that can increase your risk of MRONJ.
Is There a Link Between Oral Health and Mental Health?
Could a contributing factor of poor mental health be closer than we previously realised? Studies have shown that people with poor oral health, particularly those with gum disease, may be more likely to experience mental health problems like depression and anxiety.
This is because depression is known as an inflammatory disorder and gum disease can cause inflammation throughout the body. Having dental problems can also make you feel self-conscious and isolated, which can negatively impact your mental health.
While more research is needed to fully understand the link between oral health and mental health, early studies suggest there may be a significant relationship between the two. So, taking care of your teeth and gums isn’t just important for your physical health — it can also help you feel better emotionally.
8 Essential Tips for Maintaining Oral Health
It’s clear that taking care of your teeth and gums is an important part of maintaining overall good health and preventing a wide range of health problems. Here are the top tips from our locally-owned family dental practice to keep your oral health in shape:
- Brush your teeth twice a day for two minutes each time, using a toothbrush with soft bristles and fluoride toothpaste.
- Floss at least once a day to remove plaque and food particles from between your teeth and along your gum line.
- Use mouthwash to kill bacteria and freshen your breath but remember that it shouldn’t be used as a substitute for brushing and flossing.
- Aim to eat a healthy and balanced diet that’s rich in whole foods like fruits, vegetables and lean proteins. Limit your intake of sugary and acidic foods and drinks. These types of foods and drinks can contribute to the build-up of plaque on your teeth, which can lead to cavities and gum disease. Acidic foods and drinks can also erode the enamel on your teeth, making them more susceptible to decay and sensitivity.
- Avoid tobacco products as they can not only cause oral cancer and gum disease but other serious health problems too.
- Limit your alcohol consumption as it can have negative effects on your oral health. One of the most common side effects is a dry mouth, which can be uncomfortable and increase the risk of tooth decay and gum disease. Saliva helps to neutralise acids and bacteria in the mouth, and when there’s not enough of it, these harmful substances can build up and cause damage to your teeth and gums.
- Practise good oral hygiene habits at home and be sure to follow any specific instructions or recommendations provided by the Tooth Sparkler team.
- Visit your dentist at least twice a year for a regular check-up and professional cleaning. Book an appointment now or call (02) 9971 6134 for the best dental care on the Northern Beaches.