Oral Health: More than just a pretty smile!

oral health

We often think of oral health as brushing and flossing for a pretty smile, but did you know that your mouth is also a sneak peek into your overall well-being? It is amazing how much your mouth reflects the health of other systems in your body. Your risk for chronic health problems may be exposed or even initiated in your mouth. Maintaining good oral health is essential for maintaining your overall health!

Overall Health Starts Here

Your mouth is one of the first places a doctor can detect a systemic disease–a disease such as diabetes, leukemia or heart disease–that affects your entire body. Many of these diseases will produce oral sores or lesions within the mouth alerting the doctor of an issue. Also, your mouth’s saliva can help a physician detect certain types of cancer, exposure to toxins or drugs, or even infectious diseases

Saliva also serves as a protection agent against disease and bacteria. It contains antibodies that attack common colds or HIV, as well as enzymes that destroy harmful bacteria. So, as you can see, your oral health is of utmost importance!

Problems Can Start in the Mouth

Your mouth, while holding answers to so many questions, can also be a primary source for problems. At any time, your mouth harbors over 500 types of bacteria! If you do not brush and floss regularly, plaque can build up and store harmful bacteria around the gumline, causing gingivitis. An oral infection such as gingivitis has the potential for entering your bloodstream and causing additional issues throughout the body. Chronic gum disease has even been linked to issues such as more severe diabetes, cardiovascular disease and even a greater risk of pre-term/low birth-rate birth for expecting mothers!

Issues surrounding diseased, crooked or missing teeth or a distorted jaw can potentially cause other problems. As you can imagine, these types of problems often affect speech or make chewing food difficult and painful, leading to digestion issues. All of this often results in more expensive, and painful, corrective measures.

Maintain Your Oral Health

Perhaps now you have a better idea of why keeping up with your dentist and orthodontist is a must! Seeing your provider routinely allows your dentist/orthodontist to watch for health issues that may come up. Basic oral exams can expose poor nutrition and hygiene, growth and development problems and improper jaw alignment! It is important to alert your dentist/orthodontist of any medical developments that you are already aware, so that can be on the lookout for any changes.

In between your exams, keep up the daily good oral health maintenance. Remember to brush two times a day, floss once a day, avoid tobacco, and eat a healthy diet.

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