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Dental Practitioner

How oral hygiene affects your overall health

Problems in your mouth can negatively impact the rest of your body, overall health and oral hygiene. Taking care of your teeth and gums protects you from far more than dental decay and gum disease. A key indicator of overall health, wellbeing and quality of life, oral health is “a state of being free from chronic mouth and facial pain, oral and throat cancer, oral infection and sores, periodontal (gum) disease, tooth decay, tooth loss, and other diseases and disorders that limit an individual’s capacity in biting, chewing, smiling, speaking and psychosocial wellbeing,” explains the World Health Organization.

A window into the rest of your body, it provides signals of general health disorders, such as the first signs of HIV/ AIDS infection. Additionally, poor oral health can be a risk factor for many disorders. It’s well-documented that infective endocarditis, a life-threatening infection of the inner lining of your heart chambers or valves, is often caused by bacteria that colonise teeth and gums. Although the connection is not yet understood, recent studies suggest that oral bacteria and inflammation from a severe form of gum disease (periodontitis) may increase your risk for cardiovascular disease, such as hardened arteries, heart attack or stroke.

Your mouth may also reveal the first signs of disease, which is why dentists examine it for any unusual growths during a routine check-up.

Severe Periodontal disease is estimated to be the 11th most prevalent disease globally by the World Health Organization.

Gum health is extremely important as diseased gums are risk factors for many conditions.

THESE INCLUDE:

  • Atherosclerosis, the hardening and narrowing of arteries due to plaque build-up, which can lead to heart disease
  • Premature births and low birth weights
  • Respiratory diseases like pneumonia
  • Periodontal disease has also been linked to other systemic diseases including rheumatoid arthritis, kidney disease and various types of cancer.
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DISEASES THAT COMPROMISE YOUR IMMUNE SYSTEM IN TURN MAKE YOU MORE SUSCEPTIBLE TO ORAL CAVITY INFECTION, INCLUDING:

Diabetic patients, particularly those who are poorly controlled, are at higher risk of oral infection and conversely, active infections can affect blood sugar levels.

As HIV-positive patients’ viral load increases and they become immune compromised, they’ll begin to suffer from opportunistic oral infections.

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