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Years ago, a physician who suspected heart disease would probably not refer the patient to a gum specialist. The same went for diabetes, pregnancy or just about any other medical condition. Times have changed.... The past 5 – 10 years have seen ballooning interest in possible links between healthy mouth and healthy body. Like many areas of the body, your mouth is filled with bacteria – most of them harm less. Normally the body’s natural defences and good oral health care such as daily brushing and flossing can keep these bacteria under control. However, without proper oral hygiene, bacteria can reach levels that might lead to oral infections such as tooth decay and gum disease.
Conditions linked to oral health :-
1. Endocarditis :- It is an infection of the inner lining of your heart. It typically occurs when bacteria or other germs from another part of your body such as your mouth spread through your blood stream and attach to damaged areas in your heart.
2. Cardiovascular disease :- Heart disease, clogged arteries and stroke might be linked to inflammation and infections that oral bacteria can cause. Hardening of the arteries causes plaque to develop on the inner walls of arteries which thicken and causes an increased risk of heart attack or stroke. People with gum infections are at increased risk of heart attack and stroke. The more severe the infection, the greater the risk appears to be.
3. Pregnancy and birth :- Periodontitis has been linked to premature birth and low birth weight. Babies born too early or at a low birth weight often have significant health problems like asthma, ear infections, heart conditions and learning disorders. Infection and inflammation interferes with fetus development in the womb.
4. Diabetes :- It reduces the body’s resistance to infection – putting the gums at risk. Gum disease appears to be more frequent and severe among people who have diabetes. People who have gum disease have a harder time controlling their blood sugar levels, and regular periodontal care can improve diabetes control.
5. Lung infections :- People with periodontal disease have more bacteria present in their mouth which makes them more likely to inhale germs which can lead to lung infections like pneumonia. For those who have pre-existing lung problems like chronic pulmonary obstructive disease (COPD ) gum disease may make it worse.
6. Kidney disease :- Poor oral health seems to link to chronic kidney disease which affect blood pressure and bone health leading to kidney failure and heart disease. Toothless adults have more chance to have chronic kidney disease.
To protect your oral health Practice good oral hygiene every day. For example :-
- Brush your teeth at least twice a day with fluoride tooth paste
- Floss daily
- Eat a healthy diet and limit between meal snacks
- Replace your tooth brush every 3 – 4 months / sooner if bristles are frayed
- Schedule regular dental checkups and cleanings
- Avoid tobacco use
“Taking care of your oral health is an investment towards your overall health”
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