Chances are, during every trip that you’ve had to a dental clinic, all the dentists you’ve seen have impressed upon you the importance of good oral hygiened. Regular brushing, flossing, and care, along with semi-annual cleanings, are the best way to prevent the buildup of plaque and bacteria that can cause tooth decay and gum disease. But if you’ve let your dental care regimen fall by the wayside lately – either because you feel you don’t have the time, or you can’t find a dentist taking new patients – there are more reasons than just your oral health to get back on the wagon.
As it turns out, there is a growing amount of evidence that suggests that your oral health has a huge impact and the health of your body as a whole, and it’s not surprising. After all, the mouth is in no way isolated from the rest of the body. So if you need a good reminder of the importance of good oral health, it may be time to consider its links with:
A great reason to find a dentist taking new patients is that gum disease is a condition comorbid to diabetes. Studies have suggested that dentists could play a crucial role in diagnosing patients with diabetes by examining their gums, which is great news because many people living with diabetes go undiagnosed (and therefore, without treatment) for years.
Heart Disease and Stroke
While there is no conclusive finding on the exact nature of the link between periodontal disease and increased risk of heart disease and stroke, there are a number of theories as to why this link exists. One is that these disparate conditions share several common risk factors, such as diabetes, age, and tobacco use. Other studies suggest that dental plaque and oral bacteria are capable of entering the bloodstream, where it can then buildup in arteries, reducing blood flow and causing angina. Regardless of how the link works, there’s no denying: the smart move is to always keep on top of your dental hygiene.
Bacteria native to the mouth have been known to be found in peoples lungs, and may cause severe respiratory conditions like pneumonia or acute bronchitis. The risk is higher for people who already suffer from chronic respiratory conditions like emphysema, and people with compromised immune systems.
These are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to how the health of your mouth can affect the health of your entire body, but they underscore the importance of regular care, brushing, and flossing. If you’re not already seeing a dentist on a regular basis, there’s no time like the present to find a dentist taking new patients – they may be your best line of defence!