Studies have shown that poor oral health could lead to other health causes.
We have all be trained to know that we need to brush our teeth daily. The repercussion is always perceived to be cavities, caries, tooth loss. What if there is more than meets the eye with oral health? What if, a lot of systemic health conditions could be avoided or at least reduced by focusing on oral hygiene?
There has been substantial research on the correlation between oral health and diseases such as diabetes mellitus, rheumatoid arthritis, kidney disease and even in part the progression of cancer. Here are some conditions that have in part been attributed to poor oral hygiene.
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Health Conditions Linked to Oral Hygiene
1. Diabetes Mellitus
The relationship between diabetes and oral health is symbiotic. Diabetes is characterized by excessively high levels of glucose in the blood. If this is poorly controlled, there is an increased risk of developing dental cavities.
Diabetes in itself causes a state of immunosuppression or reduced immune defense, which commonly causes oral thrush. The diabetic state may lead to gum disease, which may be masked by the diabetic condition. Gum diseases if unchecked, leads to painful tooth loss.
2. Heart Disease
Poor oral health may lead to the development of gum disease, cavities and periodontal disease. This infection may eventually spread to the blood stream and lodge in the walls of the heart and heart valves. The infection may go on to cause endocarditis, or inflammation of the wall of the heart and valvular heart disease.
The infected clumps of bacteria may also clog arteries, leading to stroke and eventual morbidity or death.
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Poor oral hygiene has been linked to infertility in both sexes equally. In men, there is the risk of poor sperm health and reduced sperm quality. In women, infertility has been attributed to many factors which may prolong the time needed to conceive.
Research has shown that in the presence of active periodontal disease, the immune system is overactivated. An overactivated immune system may respond by attacking both the infected and healthy cells such as sperms. It is important to have your dental health at its peak, especially if you are looking to conceive.
4. Dementia and Neurodegenerative Diseases
A research done in 2017 found compelling evidence linking poor oral health to dementia. It was found that in the presence of suboptimal oral health, meaning the presence of gingivitis, dental caries and tooth loss, there was an increased risk of developing neurocognitive impairment and dementia.
Dementia was also demonstrated to be worsened by poor oral health, especially in the background of advanced disease.
5. Kidney Disease
Patients at different stages of kidney disease have been shown to have poor oral health. Poor oral health has been linked to a rapid deterioration in these patients. As well as development of other conditions such as hypertension and anemia.
A recent study done by Harvard Health was positive in identifying the correlation between oral health and systemic diseases of the heart, the brain and the kidney.
With all these glaring evidence, there is of course the question of how best to position your health to avoid these. Here are a few practical ways to keep your oral health in check.
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Tips to Keep Your Oral Health at Optimum
Regular Dental Visits
Even when brushing regularly and flossing daily, a dental consultation is invaluable. Your dentist will be able to identify any plaques that may not be obvious to the naked eye. A dental cleaning is also far superior and cannot be replaced wholly by home brushing.
Keep Brushing and Flossing
The right technique is far more important than the number of times you do it. Brush gently and frequently. Floss at least once a day with particular focus on the molars.
Healthy Diet Equals Healthy Teeth
Keep your ingestion of sugary and acidic foods to a minimum. If you must, have breaks between intake. Always choose the healthier alternatives when snacking. Reduce on carbonated fizzy drinks, because of their high sodium and acid content.
Regular Full Body Check Ups
Do not skip out on a visit to your dental physician. As noted above, the relationship between systemic illness and oral health is two-way. Curbing any conditions will protect your oral health and vice versa.
The cost of neglecting your oral health is far too steep. Teeth replacements, implants, IVF, chemotherapy are all expensive costs that can be avoided with a keen emphasis on oral hygiene.