Can My Oral Health Affect My Overall Health?
You try to take care of your teeth, but sometimes life gets in the way. It’s important to see a Bethpage dentist in your area twice a year, but again, sometimes other things seem to take precedence. You don’t feel anything like pain in the teeth, so that means that everything is OK, right?
The short answer here is “No.” There is a very good chance that even if you don’t have soreness or pain despite neglecting your teeth, you could be setting yourself up to have some lasting consequences, possibly severe ones, down the road.
Your Mouth Is Not A Closed Loop
You may think that gum disease only affects your jaw and gums. Not so. They are not part of a closed loop. Any infections can also go on to affect the rest of your body. Yes, treatments can halt gum disease, but there always has to be the concern that you may have some aftereffects that may not be immediate but can wind up causing long-term problems for you.
There’s one big way that things can wind up making their way into your body through your mouth – every time you swallow, it goes into your throat. Of course, that’s not the only entrance in your mouth… more on that in just a little bit. But it’s simply not correct to think that gum disease can only cause tooth and gum problems. Not by a long shot.
Bacteria Plays a Big Part
There’s a lot of bacteria in your mouth. The vast majority of them are harmless, but there are also some that can cause illness. If that bacteria makes its way into your bloodstream, then it can cause conditions ranging from cardiovascular disease to various cancers. What’s the easiest entry point for them? Your mouth. They can slip through bloody gums into the bloodstream.
Certain medications or treatments can actually cause you to get dry mouth, which then can open the door for that bacteria to breed. Your saliva plays a big part in keeping your mouth in good shape since it washes away a good amount of bacteria every time you swallow. In the absence of that, the bacteria can proliferate, and since the dry mouth also increases the chance of infection, then you face the same bloodstream problem.
What Can You Do?
The first thing is to make time to brush your teeth twice a day. It’s really not a huge time commitment – two minutes in the morning and two minutes at night. That’s two commercial breaks on the television. But you need to do a proper job during that time. Spend 30 seconds in each of the four quadrants of your mouth. An electric toothbrush is excellent for this.
The other thing is flossing. Do that at night before bed. This will get rid of any food particles that brushing didn’t get. That’s a minute there. Don’t pretend you are a lumberjack sawing a tree – meaning don’t go back and forth. Go up and down. This is an important part that people often neglect. Yes, your gums may bleed a bit at first, but that is because you haven’t flossed in a while. That will stop after consistently flossing day in and day out.
Of course, there are other factors that can lead to these health conditions – diet, exercise (or lack thereof), environment (like pollution), or even genetics. Still, having a healthy mouth can give you a much better chance of being in good shape overall. Taking those five minutes a day can make a huge difference in the long run.
Seeing a dentist twice a year is very important, too. They can likely catch any signs of gum disease in its early and usually reversible stages. This is important, since they can then show you how to get your oral health back on track. Missing dentist appointments means that the gum disease, which may not manifest itself in pain, can progress into its non-reversible stage. Be safe and make those every-six-month-appointments.
Dr. Krupali Shah has been helping many patients with dental issues over the course of her career. She is very knowledgeable about the ins and outs of oral health and will gladly answer your questions about how you can have healthy teeth and gums to help you have strong overall health. Give her a call today at Bethpage Smiles to make an appointment – 516-822-6659
Bethpage Smiles Family Dental – Dr. Krupali Shah
120 Bethpage Rd suite 310,
Hicksville, NY 11801
Phone: (516) 822-6659