Maintaining good oral hygiene is essential to ensure a healthy mouth and prevent dental decay and gum disease. Our dentists at Cambridge can explain how a healthy mouth can also improve your overall health and well-being.
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
Did you know that saliva is an effective diagnostic tool for identifying systemic diseases? Doctors and dentists can use it to diagnose diseases before their symptoms become noticeable.
Saliva is also an essential defense mechanism against harmful bacteria and viruses. It contains antibodies that can attack viral pathogens like HIV and the common cold.
Additionally, enzymes in saliva can destroy bacteria in various ways by disrupting their vital systems and inhibiting their growth and metabolism.
To maintain a healthy salivary flow, it's essential to stay hydrated. Remember to drink plenty of water throughout the day!
Dental Plaque & Infection
Did you know that your mouth harbours more than 500 types of bacteria that produce dental plaque? This sticky and colourless film clings to your teeth and can lead to various health problems if left unattended.
Failure to brush and floss your teeth regularly and thoroughly allows dental plaque to accumulate between your gums and teeth, which can eventually cause gingivitis, an infection of the gums.
If left untreated, gingivitis can result in a more severe gum disease called periodontitis. If you have periodontitis, even a routine dental procedure or brushing can give oral bacteria easy access to enter your bloodstream.
While it is not a concern for those with a healthy immune system, weakened immune systems due to illnesses or cancer treatment can cause oral bacteria to trigger infections in other parts of the body.
For instance, infective endocarditis may occur when oral bacteria penetrate the bloodstream and adhere to the lining of damaged heart valves.
Dental Plaque's Link to Common Conditions
Maintaining good oral health can potentially prevent various medical issues, including stroke, heart attack, diabetes-related complications, and premature labor.
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.
It has been discovered that the presence of bacteria in the mouth can lead to inflammation in various parts of the body, including the arteries. This implies that gingivitis may be linked to the development of clogged arteries and blood clots. Moreover, gum disease and loss of teeth can also contribute to the buildup of plaques in the carotid artery.