Everyone wants a sparkling white smile and fresh breath. These reasons alone are enough to encourage good oral hygiene. In reality, having clean and healthy teeth and gums has many benefits, both in and out of the mouth. The fact is, the mouth is so important to your overall health that doctors can tell a lot about what is going on in your body with a swab of your saliva.
Possible Infections in the Mouth
If you are not careful about keeping up on your oral hygiene, plaque begins to build up, especially along the gum line. This creates a breeding ground for other types of bacteria to move in and make themselves comfortable. When the gums become infected, the condition is known as gingivitis. If you do not control this condition, it can turn into the more serious issue known as periodontitis. From there, this condition can become acute necrotizing ulcerative gingivitis, which has the charming nickname of “trench mouth.”
Normally, bacteria in the mouth cannot harm the rest of your body. Even if you have an active oral infection, you should be safe. That being said, if your immune system is compromised, the bacteria can be harmful if it enters your bloodstream. This can lead to dangerous infections in other parts of your body.
Possible Links Between Oral Hygiene and Other Health Conditions
Although more studies are needed, there has been emerging research linking excessive amounts of plaque to non-oral health issues. Some of the biggest ones include:
Preterm Birth: There is compelling research pointing to gum disease being linked to preterm and low-birth-weight babies. This is due to the toxins created by the disease entering the bloodstream and passing through the placenta. As a result, normal growth can be disturbed. It is also believed to trigger the mother’s body to produce labor-starting chemicals earlier than normal.
Diabetes: Although there is no link saying that oral disease can cause diabetes, there is evidence that it can make the disease harder to control. Another possible connection is that the infection causes the body to become insulin resistant. This makes blood sugar management much more difficult.
Cardiovascular Disease: There is emerging research suggesting that the bacteria that cause oral inflammation can also cause inflammation in other parts of the body. When this happens in the arteries, it can increase your risk for both a heart attack or stroke. Unfortunately, the worse the oral infection is, the higher the chance of a serious medical event. That is one of the major reasons to focus on your oral hygiene.
Are you ready to take charge of your oral hygiene? If so, the staff at Unique Orthodontics are here to help. We would love to discuss the current state of your oral health and what may be beneficial to it. We have offices in Fresno, Old Town Clovis, Madera, Tulare, and the Buchanan Area. Contact us today to schedule your consultation!