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Good Oral Health Can Help Your Overall Health and Well-being

There are new findings which suggest that the health of your mouth could affect your general health. This fact is something that dental professionals have suspected for some time; that infections in the mouth can be linked with problems in other parts of the body.

There has never been a better time to keep your mouth in good health – it could keep your body in good health too!

So, what problems could be caused or made worse by dental health?

  • Heart Disease
  • Strokes
  • Diabetes
  • Giving birth to premature or low-birth-weight baby
  • Respiratory (lung) disease

Quite how these links are caused is the subject of much research. However, a popular train of thought is that it might be to do with how the body reacts to inflammation.

Heart Disease

People with gum disease are almost twice as likely to have heart disease as those without gum disease. The bacteria in the mouth can get into the bloodstream, produce protein and cause the platelets in the blood to stick together in the heart’s blood vessels, which can contribute to the development of heart disease.

Strokes

Several studies have looked at the correlation between mouth infections and strokes. They found that people who have had a stroke are more likely to have gum disease than people who have not had one.

Diabetes

People with diabetes are more likely to have gum disease than people without it. If you do have diabetes, it is important that gum disease is diagnosed as it can increase your blood sugar, which could put you at risk of diabetic complications.

Giving birth to premature or low-birth-weight baby

Research has shown that pregnant women who have gum disease may be over three times more likely to have a low birth weight or premature baby. It is thought that gum disease may raise the levels of the chemicals that bring on labour.

Respiratory (lung) disease

People with gum disease have more bacteria in their mouths and may therefore be more likely to get chest infections. Good oral hygiene is therefore particularly important to reduce infections.

So, what can you do to keep your mouth healthy?

  • Visit your dentist as often as recommended – this can help to spot any problems early on
  • Ensure you brush your teeth twice a day for at least two minutes
  • Floss between your teeth every day to remove bacteria that brushing can’t reach
  • Eat a healthy diet of fresh vegetables and fruit and cut back on sugary drinks and food

Avoid smoking as it can make gum disease much worse