Good oral hygiene helps you keep your mouth healthy, preventing dental decay and gum disease. Here, our Sault Ste. Marie dentists explain how a healthy mouth can contribute to better overall health and well-being as well.
Practicing good oral hygiene is one reasonably reliable predictor of better dental health outcomes. This means you are more likely to keep your teeth as you age if you have good oral hygiene habits. Because dental health can impact overall physical well-being, good oral hygiene practices can have a positive impact on your overall health.
A Healthy Salivary Flow
Saliva serves as a valuable diagnostic tool, allowing doctors and dentists to detect and diagnose systemic diseases even before their symptoms manifest.
Moreover, saliva plays a crucial role in neutralizing bacteria and viruses before they can harm your body. It acts as a primary defense mechanism against disease-causing microorganisms.
Saliva contains antibodies that combat viral pathogens like the common cold and HIV. It also contains enzymes that eliminate bacteria through various means, such as breaking down bacterial membranes, disrupting essential bacterial enzyme systems, and hindering the growth and metabolism of certain bacteria.
Maintaining a healthy salivary flow is generally straightforward for most individuals. The key is to stay properly hydrated! Ensure that you drink an ample amount of water throughout the day to promote a healthy flow of saliva.
Dental Plaque & Infection
Your mouth houses over 500 species of bacteria that are constantly forming dental plaque, a sticky, colourless film that clings to your teeth and causes a variety of health problems.
If you don’t brush and floss your teeth regularly and thoroughly, you’re allowing dental plaque to build up between your gums and teeth, eventually leading to a gum infection called gingivitis. Left unchecked, gingivitis can lead to a more serious infection called periodontitis (gum disease).
If you have periodontitis, undergoing dental treatment or even brushing your teeth can create an opportunity for the abundant bacteria in your mouth to enter your bloodstream.
Normally, if your immune system is in good health, the presence of oral bacteria in your bloodstream won't cause any issues. However, if your immune system is compromised due to a disease or cancer treatment, the oral bacteria in your bloodstream may lead to an infection in other parts of your body.
An example of this is infective endocarditis, where oral bacteria enter the bloodstream and attach to the lining of diseased heart valves.
Dental Plaque’s Link to Common Conditions
Having a healthy mouth may help you ward off certain diseases and medical problems such as stroke, heart attack, complications related to diabetes, and even pre-term labour.
Poorly Controlled Diabetes
Chronic gum disease may make diabetes more difficult to control. The infection may cause insulin resistance, which can disrupt blood sugar control.
The bacteria present in the mouth can lead to inflammation in various parts of the body, including the arteries. This means that gingivitis, a form of gum disease, could potentially contribute to the blockage of arteries and the formation of blood clots.
Furthermore, gum disease and the loss of teeth might be factors that contribute to the buildup of plaques in the carotid artery.