How oral health is connected to overall health

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Good oral health and hygiene can improve your general health. By taking care of your mouth, teeth and gums, you are keeping your body healthy in so many other ways. Read on to see how oral health is tied to overall health.

There is mostly good but some bad bacteria in your mouth. Your mouth is the gateway to your respiratory and digestive tracts, and bacteria in your mouth can travel to these systems and cause disease.

Daily brushing and flossing are key to keeping bacteria under control. Improper oral health care leads to tooth decay and gum disease. Brush your teeth at least twice a day and floss daily. Use mouthwash to remove food particles that brushing and flossing leave behind.

Saliva plays a vital role. Saliva washes away food and neutralizes acids in your mouth, preventing tooth decay and gum disease. But certain medications such as antidepressants, painkillers, antihistamines, decongestants and diuretics can reduce the flow of saliva.

Oral health may contribute to heart disease. Research suggests that heart disease, clogged arteries and stroke may be linked to inflammation and infections caused by oral bacteria. And bacteria and germs from the mouth or other areas of the body are linked to endocarditis, which is the infection of the inner lining of your heart chambers or valves.

Certain diseases can exacerbate oral health problems. Diabetes puts your gums at risk because it lowers the body’s resistance to infection. Many people who have diabetes are likely to have more severe gum disease. Osteoporosis is linked with periodontal bone loss and tooth loss. HIV/AIDS can cause painful mucosal lesions in the mouth. Other conditions that may be linked to oral health include rheumatoid arthritis, Sjogren’s syndrome, eating disorders and certain cancers.

Healthy teeth and gums are vital to your general health. That’s why it’s important to have regular dental checkups and cleanings, talking to your dentist about the medications you take and sharing any changes in your health. Schedule your next appointment by calling us today at (501) 843-9561.

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