Our oral health is pivotal to performing daily functions such as eating, speaking and socialising. However, oral health can have far reaching effects on the rest of the body too, potentially affecting the heart, blood vessels, joints and even pregnancy.
What happens when we don’t look after our teeth?
The mouth is home to a wide range of bacteria that cluster in communities and adhere to our teeth. When we don’t clean our teeth regularly, these communities continue to grow and may cause disease. Our immune systems attempt to fight off the bacteria by launching an inflammatory response. However, over time, an ongoing inflammatory response may lead to harmful effects on the rest of the body.
How does this affect the body?
Heart and blood vessel problems: Some studies have shown that not brushing your teeth can lead to inflammation spreading to the rest of the body. One consequence is that the liver may produce more of the factors that promote atherosclerosis. It was also found that people with advanced gum disease have a considerably higher risk of heart attack compared to people without gum disease.
Rheumatoid arthritis: Research has shown that specific types of bacteria that are involved in gum disease are able to generate an inflammatory response that resembles what is found in rheumatoid arthritis joints. This implies that gum disease may play a role in the development and severity of rheumatoid arthritis.
Adverse pregnancy outcomes: Gum disease in pregnant women has been associated with an increased risk of pre-term birth and low birth weight. Fortunately, early data suggests that resolving gum disease can reduce these risks.
How can we look after our oral health?
We’ve just mentioned how oral disease can affect the body in multiple ways. Therefore, it is important to keep our mouths clean by following these simple steps:
- Brush twice a day with fluoride toothpaste
- Floss everyday
- Visit your dentist regularly
To summarise, our oral health plays an important role in our general health. Therefore, it is crucial that we try our best to maintain a healthy mouth. Feel free to talk to our dentists at Mason Square Dental to find out more about how to keep your mouth healthy.