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Why Is Oral Health Essential for Overall Well-Being?

Published on Oct 10, 2020 and last reviewed on Nov 10, 2021   -  4 min read


Poor oral hygiene not only affects your teeth but your overall health. It has effects on your heart, mental health, and various other organs in the body. Read the article to know more.

Why Is Oral Health Essential for Overall Well-Being?

Oral health is one of the most important parts of your overall health and well-being. Poor oral hygiene is responsible for dental caries and gingival diseases and has also been linked to heart disease, cancer, diabetes, premature birth, and low birth weight. This article helps you understand the relationship between oral health and overall health.

Hygiene really matters when it comes to looking good and confident. This applies to both body and dental health. The way you present yourself to the people you meet every day leaves a lasting impression. So, if you neglect to take proper care of your teeth and oral health, it will speak for you and speak about how you treat your body or look after your own body. Poor oral hygiene is one of the causes of bad breath, which is also known as halitosis. Halitosis can leave you closed off and reserved from the world.

How Does Oral Health Affect Well-Being?

Yes, our oral hygiene affects general well-being. The condition of the oral cavity and psychological condition is directly proportional. More specifically, gingival diseases and extensive tooth loss are linked with other health complications. Presenting clean, white, and well-maintained teeth boost your self-confidence because when we eat, chew, smile, talk, taste, or socialize, our teeth play the main role, and ultimately it is related to boosting our self-esteem. Individuals with good oral hygiene have more confidence to interact with people. In short, if you have a healthy mouth, then you are more likely to have greater self-confidence.

Oral Health and Mental Health:

A healthy mouth possesses healthy teeth, which increases the willingness to smile more.

Depression - People suffering from depression generally have less concern about their own well-being, and so it affects their oral hygiene. In that case, routine oral hygiene procedures are compromised; exercise and diet are neglected, and a healthy meal is replaced by more sugary food. As we all know, sugary food leads to increased chances of dental decay.

What Are the Causes of Gingival Disease?

When you do not brush your teeth properly twice daily, gargle after every meal, and floss, then you are giving more time for bacteria to multiply in your mouth. Most of the bacteria are harmless and are good bacteria, but with these improper and inadequate oral hygiene measures, unhealthy levels are reached within no time, which causes problems such as periodontitis (disease of the periodontal ligament) and cavities.

Certain medications like antidepressants, painkillers, diuretics, etc., contribute to decreased salivary flow in the oral cavity, which in turn, lead to bad oral hygiene as saliva has multiple functions, such as neutralization of acids, wash away food debris, and many more and so protecting oral cavity from bacteria.

How Does Oral Health Affect the Rest of the Body?

Poor oral hygiene gives a direct indication or clue of the state of your health. Poor oral hygiene means gum disease, cavities, bad breath, and discolored teeth. But they may land up in far more serious consequences than a toothache or some discoloration. When a person has periodontitis (inflammation of periodontal ligament), bacteria from the mouth can cause infection in other parts of the body. This can worsen an existing health problem or may even cause a new one. People having gum disease may have an increased risk of stroke or diabetes. Poor dental health gives rise to numerous conditions, such as:

Heart Disease - Gingival and periodontal diseases are caused by bacteria present in plaque. Oral bacteria and inflammation may be a causative factor for infective endocarditis or inflammation of the lining of the heart. Infective Endocarditis is an infection of your heart valves and is a life-threatening situation. Bacteria can spread from the oral cavity to the bloodstream, causing infective endocarditis. So, when there are chances of bacteria getting dislodged by dental procedures, your dentist may suggest you take antibiotics as a precautionary measure. The bacteria associated with periodontitis when it enters the bloodstream via bleeding gums, produces a protein, which causes platelets in the blood to stick together and to the blood vessels of the heart. This leads to an increased risk of blood clots formation, which reduces normal blood flow and possibly resulting in heart attack and stroke.

Stroke - When bacteria that cause gingival diseases enter the bloodstream, the protein produced can cause inflammation of blood vessels. The inflammatory process may be the causative factor for gradual damage of blood vessels, which could cause a stroke.

Diabetes - In diabetes, there is a decrease in the immunity of an individual, which ultimately leads to an increase in the chances of developing gingival diseases. It is a well-known fact that periodontitis is the sixth complication of diabetes. If you have diabetes, you are more prone to tooth loss because of periodontitis. Diabetic people are at an increased risk of an oral fungal infection called thrush.

Respiratory (Lung) Disease - Individuals with gum disease and poor oral hygiene have more bad bacteria in easy terms, more disease-causing bacteria in their oral cavity. This can cause pneumonia, which is a bacterial chest infection.

Premature Birth - Pregnancy is associated with fluctuation in hormonal levels. As there are hormonal changes and increased blood flow, there are more chances of pregnant women suffering from gingival and periodontal problems. Pregnancy gingivitis is a more commonly found condition. There are studies showing a link between gum disease and low birth weight and premature babies.

Missing Teeth - Missing teeth will often add to low self-esteem. Gaps because of missing teeth in your oral cavity can affect your overall well-being and your oral health. Teeth we often consider as a single unit, but it works in harmony and is part of the dentoalveolar system. Problems occur if they do not work in harmony. Missing teeth hamper your facial appearance and smile. Also, there will be difficulty in chewing food and in speech. Replacing missing teeth will help to improve facial appearance, restore your smile, and allow you to speak and masticate normally again. The treatment options available for the replacement of missing teeth are bridges, dentures, and dental implants.

How to Keep Mouth and Gums Healthy?

  1. Brush your teeth in the morning and at night, with a fluoride toothpaste.
  2. Clean between the teeth with ’interdental’ or proxy brushes or floss at least once a day.
  3. Reduce the intake of refined foods, sugary foods, and drinks.
  4. Regular dental check-ups.

So, after knowing the connection between a healthy mouth and a healthy body, now you have enough reasons to take good care of your oral health.

Last reviewed at:
10 Nov 2021  -  4 min read


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