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How does dental hygiene affect your overall health?

In order to help keep your mouth healthy and prevent tooth decay and gum disease, you need to practice good oral hygiene. Today, our London dentists discuss the ways having a healthy mouth can also help improve your wellbeing and overall health.

Great oral hygiene is a fairly good predictor of having better dental health results. Meaning, if you practice proper oral hygiene habits you have higher odds of keeping your natural teeth as you get older. Since dental health can affect your overall physical wellbeing, excellent oral hygiene practices can positively impact your overall health.

A Healthy Salivary Flow

A person's saliva is a useful diagnostic tool that helps dentists and doctors find and diagnose systemic diseases before they start causing visible symptoms.

On top of this, saliva could also help disable viruses and bacteria before they make their way into your system. Actually, saliva is one of your body’s main defenses against organisms that cause diseases.

Saliva contains antibodies that attack viral pathogens, such as the common cold and even HIV. It also contains enzymes that destroy bacteria in several different ways, for instance by degrading bacterial membranes, disrupting vital bacterial enzyme systems, and inhibiting the growth and metabolism of some bacteria.

Keeping your salivary flow healthy is quite easy for most people. The key is to stay hydrated! Make sure you drink plenty of water throughout the day to maintain a healthy salivary flow.

Dental Plaque & Infection

The human mouth is home to 500 species of bacteria that are constantly building dental plaque, which is a colourless, sticky film that attaches to your teeth and leads to various health problems.

If the plaque on your teeth isn't brushed and flossed away regularly and thoroughly, it can build up between your teeth and gums, resulting in an infection in the gums called gingivitis. Left unchecked, gingivitis can lead to a more serious infection called periodontitis (gum disease).

If you have periodontitis, simply undergoing a dental treatment or just brushing your teeth can provide a port of entry for the abundant bacteria in your mouth to enter your bloodstream.

If your immune system is healthy, the presence of oral bacteria in your bloodstream will not cause problems. However, if it has been weakened, for example by a disease or by cancer treatment, oral bacteria in your bloodstream may cause you to develop an infection in another part of your body.

Infective endocarditis, which is when oral bacteria enter the bloodstream and stick to the lining of diseased heart valves, is an example of this.

Common Conditions Connected to Dental Plaque

If you keep your mouth healthy, you are helping to prevent certain medical problems and diseases such as diabetes-related complications, preterm labour, heart attacks, and strokes.

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

Bacteria in the mouth may cause inflammation throughout the body, including the arteries, meaning gingivitis may play a role in clogged arteries and blood clots.

In addition, gum disease and tooth loss may contribute to the development of plaques in the carotid artery.

For more information on good oral hygiene and how it can affect your overall health contact our London dentists today to schedule an appointment.

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