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Six Impacts of Poor Oral Health on Overall Well Being

“Adam and Eve had many advantages, but the principal one was that they escaped teething.” – Mark Twain, US author. How we all wish this could be our advantage too, isn’t it? Oral health has always been an important public health issue. They have a significant impact on the individuals, communities, health systems, and societies at large.

Oral health is not limited to the teeth, it comprises the entire mouth. The mouth includes the gums, hard and soft palate, the linings of the mouth and throat, tongue, lips, salivary glands, chewing muscles and the upper and lower jaws.

What is oral health?

The WHO defines oral health as, “a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being, not merely the absence of tooth decay, oral and throat cancers, gum disease, chronic pain, oral tissue lesions, birth defects…and other diseases and disorders that affect the oral, dental and craniofacial tissues.”

Some Impacts of Systemic Disease on Overall Wellbeing:

  1. Dental infections are related to a higher increased risk of pneumonia.
  2. The mouth could be a reservoir of bacteria associated with stomach ulcers.
  3. Gum disease can complicate diabetes.
  4. Gum ailments have been linked to a higher risk of cardiovascular disease.
  5. Oral bacteria are associated with infective endocarditis (inflammation of the hearts inner lining).
  6. Loss of teeth within the elderly population can lead to impaired ability to chew thus inviting malnourishment to the body.

Oral health and general health are linked and jointly influenced by psycho social factors like stress, behaviors such as smoking and diet.  In order to control this severe situation, it is always better to get checked for your dental problems as they start to peek out.

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