Medical professionals say dental health can be the window to a picture of a person’s overall health. Can that really be true? After all, teeth have gone thousands of years without comprehensive dental care. Surely a person can skip out on their dental health and not suffer too greatly, right? Unfortunately, no. Practicing good oral hygiene is essential to promoting overall health and improving your appearance and quality of life. Read on to learn the importance of dental health.
So It’s Important, but Why?
Having good dental health will often lead to or complement overall health. Dental problems can impair your ability to eat nutritious foods or communicate well. They can lead to long-lasting pain and cause bad breath. Not many people know this, but a problem in the mouth will show signs “downstream” as well. By failing to maintain healthy teeth and gums, you may see issues with pregnancy complications, chronic and painful inflammation. It can even intensify conditions like arthritis. There are many problems that poor dental health can cause, but why?
Some studies have suggested that the bacteria present in patients with gum disease can use blood vessels in the teeth to travel to the heart, causing inflammation, clogged arteries, heart disease, or even strokes. Can bad teeth really lead to problems with your pregnancy? Absolutely. Gum diseases such as periodontitis have been linked to premature births and low birth weights in pregnant women. If you’re diabetic, it is especially important to maintain good dental health as diabetes reduces your overall ability to fight infection, which can make dental problems even worse. Before the advent of modern medicine and dental care, only 200 years ago, dental abscesses were the single largest identified cause of death for thousands of years.
What are the Signs of a Serious Problem?
There are many obvious signs of a problem with your dental hygiene, and one of the first that you’re likely to notice is pain. Toothaches are not pleasant, and because dental problems can lead to such serious complications, your body is quick to let you know when a problem is present. See a dentist if you experience a toothache, or if you have bleeding gums (even during brushing), swelling inside or around the mouth, tenderness or blisters that have trouble healing, or changes in the texture or appearance of soft tissues in your mouth. These could all be signs of a potentially serious condition, such as chronic gum disease or even oral cancer.
How Can I Improve my Dental Health?
Keeping in regular contact with your dentist and other oral care specialists is essential. Brush for at least two minutes twice a day, floss daily, use fluoride toothpaste and see your dentist at least every six months for check-ups and cleaning. Diet is also essential, as a sugary diet or one that frequently involves consuming soda will harm your dental health severely. Limit alcohol, smoking, or smokeless tobacco products, as these can and will degrade the quality of your oral health. The soft tissues of your mouth are very sensitive, and being mindful of their care and the overall health of your mouth will help your teeth last your whole life.