Oral Health: How Dental Care Impacts Your Overall Health

A Couple Brushes Their Teeth

Oral Health: How Dental Care Impacts Your Overall Health

We all know that brushing and flossing your teeth is essential for your oral health. But did you know that your oral health is intricately connected to your overall health? Studies suggest that maintaining proper oral hygiene could help you prevent certain diseases, stay healthy, and live longer. Find out how bacterial overgrowth in your mouth could cause other diseases and how regular cleanings, screenings, and dental cleanings can help you lead a healthier life.

What Causes Bacterial Overgrowth in the Mouth?

Just like all other parts of your body, your mouth is full of bacteria. But, because your mouth connects to your airways and your digestive system, an overgrowth of harmful bacteria can present problems with lasting consequences. So what could cause bacterial overgrowth in your mouth?

Usually, proper dental hygiene like flossing and brushing can help keep bacteria at bay. However, with an inadequate amount of brushing and flossing, the bacteria grow out of control and can cause infections, tooth decay, and gum disease. 

Your mouth has a natural defense mechanism in the form of saliva. Saliva usually helps rinse away bacteria and the acids they produce. Unfortunately, certain medications like antihistamines, decongestants, diuretics, and antidepressants could reduce the saliva flow in your mouth—a lack of saliva could lead to bacteria build-up and infection. 

Additionally, some conditions like diabetes, osteoporosis, HIV/AIDS, and Alzheimer’s disease can contribute to a decline in oral health. Be sure to tell your dentist about any medications and health conditions mentioned above to ensure proper treatment. 

The Mouth and Body Connection

Studies suggest that your oral health could be a contributing factor in developing several conditions and diseases, including:

  • Pneumonia: Harmful bacteria could travel from your mouth and into your lungs and cause pneumonia and other respiratory diseases. 
  • Pregnancy complications: Periodontitis (gum inflammation) has been connected to premature birth and lower birth weight. 
  • Endocarditis: Bacteria from the mouth have the potential to travel through your bloodstream and into your heart, causing an infection of the inner lining of the heart chambers or endocarditis. 
  • Cardiovascular disease: Some evidence suggests inflammation and diseases caused by bacterial overgrowth in the mouth could play a role in the development of heart disease. 

What Can I Do to Protect My Oral Health?

Proper oral care can help prevent harmful bacteria from traveling to other parts of your body and causing health issues. Here are some of the things you can do to ensure good oral hygene:

  • Avoid tobacco use
  • Limit sugar intake
  • Replace your toothbrush every three months
  • Brush your teeth twice daily
  • Floss daily
  • Schedule regular checkups and cleanings

If you have any questions about your dental health and oral hygiene, don’t hesitate to give us a call. We are always here to help!

Shelby Dental Center Cares About Your Dental Health 

Maintaining proper oral hygiene can help ensure not only your dental health but your overall health as well. Make sure brushing, flossing, and regular dental cleanings are a part of your dental care routine. If you have any questions about your dental health or would like to schedule an appointment, please contact us today!