Maintaining good oral hygiene is essential for a healthy mouth, as it helps prevent tooth decay and gum disease. Our Riverdale Toronto dentists discuss how a healthy mouth not only benefits your dental well-being but also plays a role in improving your bodily health.
Taking care of your teeth through good oral hygiene practices is a practical way to improve your dental health. By maintaining good oral hygiene habits, you increase the likelihood of preserving your teeth as you grow older.
It's important to remember that dental health is connected to overall physical well-being, so practicing good oral hygiene can contribute positively to your overall health.
A Healthy Salivary Flow
Saliva is a helpful diagnostic tool, in that it can help doctors and dentists to identify and diagnose systemic diseases before their symptoms become apparent.
In addition, saliva can help disable bacteria and viruses before they enter your system. In fact, saliva is one of your body’s main defences against disease-causing organisms.
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
Your mouth is home to more than 500 species of bacteria that constantly form dental plaque, a sticky film that adheres to your teeth and can cause various health issues.
Neglecting regular and thorough brushing and flossing allows dental plaque to accumulate between your teeth and gums, leading to a gum infection known as gingivitis. If left untreated, gingivitis can progress to a more severe condition called periodontitis or gum disease.
In the case of periodontitis, even simple dental procedures or brushing can create an entry point for the abundant oral bacteria to enter your bloodstream. While a healthy immune system can handle these bacteria without problems, a weakened immune system due to illness or cancer treatment may result in infections in other parts of your body.
An example of such an infection is infective endocarditis, where oral bacteria enter the bloodstream and attach to the lining of damaged heart valves.
Dental Plaque’s Link to Common Conditions
Having a healthy mouth may help you ward off certain diseases and medical problems such as stroke, heart attack, complications related to diabetes, and even pre-term labour.
Poorly Controlled Diabetes
Persistent gum disease can complicate the management of diabetes. The infection in the gums can lead to insulin resistance, interfering with the regulation of blood sugar levels.
The presence of oral bacteria can trigger inflammation in various parts of the body, including the arteries, potentially linking gingivitis to the development of clogged arteries and blood clots.
Furthermore, gum disease and tooth loss could contribute to the formation of plaques in the carotid artery.