From the tip of your tongue to the tip of your toes, the health of your body is a conglomeration of every organ, blood cell, body system and bit of bacteria, no matter where it is found in your body. And despite our societal separation between oral health and overall health those two are a stronger duo than peanut butter and jelly. That’s right, just two ole peas in a pod. And with that, the reasons to take better care of your oral health just doubled.
Good oral hygiene like brushing your teeth daily, occasionally flossing (let’s be real that’s the hardest one) and regularly visiting the dentist are important in keeping your teeth and gums healthy and keeping gum disease and cavities at bay. But wait, there’s more! When we have strong oral health, it is directly manifested through a strong gut and stronger overall health as well. Unfortunately, it’s the same in the opposite case as well.
There is a clear connection between poor oral health/oral diseases and other health problems. For example, when your oral health is weak and plagued with periodontitis or gum disease it does not remain quarantined in your mouth. Cardiovascular disease has been linked to oral infections, diabetes has been tied to gum disease and research is currently being done to verify problems with pregnancy, premature births and low weight births being tied to periodontitis. The list goes on and the evidence becomes clearer: our oral health is the gateway to our overall health whether for good or for bad.
Through your oral health you can understand the health of the rest of your body. Take your gut for example. Everything that goes to your gut has to pass through your mouth first. A lot of the time, if there is something wrong with your gut it manifests itself in your mouth.
But when your gut is healthy it is also reflected in a healthy and bacterially balanced mouth. Two things you definitely want. Your gums don’t have lesions or ulcers and your teeth are stronger.
When you have problems with your oral health not only does it affect the systems of your bodies, but it affects you mentally. Not being able to eat nutritious foods because of tooth loss or mouth sores can change your mental health and weaken your physical abilities. Not being able to smile and confidently interact with others because of tooth decay can have long-term negative mental repercussions. Taking care of your oral health is the first step in taking care of your overall health.
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“Diabetes and Oral Health Problems” Diabetes, American Diabetes Association, 9 May 2018, http://www.diabetes.org/living-with-diabetes/treatment-and-care/oral-health-and-hygiene/diabetes-and-oral-health.html
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