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How does dental hygiene affect your overall health?

Good oral hygiene helps you keep your mouth healthy, preventing dental decay and gum disease. Here, our Woodbridge dentists explain how a healthy mouth can contribute to better overall health and wellbeing as well.

Practising 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 wellbeing, good oral hygiene practices can have a positive impact on your overall health.

A Healthy Salivary Flow

Saliva is a helpful diagnostic tool, in that it can help doctors and dentists to identify and diagnose systemic diseases before their symptoms become apparent.

In addition, saliva can help disable bacteria and viruses before they enter your system. In fact, saliva is one of your body’s main defences against disease-causing organisms.

Antibodies found in saliva fight viral pathogens like the flu and even HIV. Additionally, it contains enzymes that kill bacteria in a variety of ways, such as by deteriorating bacterial membranes, upsetting crucial bacterial enzyme systems, and preventing some bacteria from growing and metabolizing.

For the majority of people, maintaining a healthy salivary flow is quite simple. Be sure to drink plenty of water. To keep a healthy salivary flow throughout the day, make sure to drink plenty of water.

Dental Plaque & Infection

Your mouth houses over 500 species of bacteria that are constantly forming dental plaque, a sticky, colourless film that clings to your teeth and causes a variety of health problems.

Regularly and thoroughly brushing and flossing your teeth will prevent dental plaque from accumulating between your gums and teeth, which will eventually cause gingivitis, a gum infection. Gingivitis can progress into periodontitis (also known as gum disease), a more serious infection, if it is not treated.

If you have periodontitis, even simple dental procedures or tooth brushing can open a doorway for the numerous bacteria in your mouth to enter your bloodstream.

If your immune system is functioning properly, oral bacteria in your bloodstream won't cause any issues. But if it has been compromised, like by illness or cancer treatment, oral bacteria in your bloodstream could lead to an infection in another area of your body.

An illustration of this is infectious endocarditis, which develops when oral bacteria enter the bloodstream and adhere to the inner lining of sick heart valves.

Dental Plaque’s Link to Common Conditions

Having a healthy mouth may help you ward off certain diseases and medical problems such as stroke, heart attack, complications related to diabetes, and even pre-term labour.

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.

Cardiovascular Disease

Gingivitis may be a factor in blocked arteries and blood clots because bacteria in the mouth can lead to inflammation throughout the body, including the arteries.

The formation of plaques in the carotid artery may also be influenced by gum disease and tooth loss.

Your oral health can often correlate with the overall health of your body. If you’d like help improving your oral hygiene routine to better your overall health, please contact our Woodbridge dentists to schedule an appointment today.

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