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Our dental health is crucial to our overall well-being. However, it’s a shame that too often, people neglect this aspect of health care, assuming brushing the teeth alone is good oral hygiene.

While this may be true to a degree, there are other aspects of dental care, such as flossing, using mouthwash and regular dental visits, that we need to pay extra attention to for wholesome physical, mental, and social health.

Dental care matters more than we think because there are several negative health implications to having bad oral hygiene. Numerous scientific studies have linked oral diseases with systemic infections affecting body organs like the heart, brain, and kidneys.

Besides, people suffering from oral problems have been documented to experience constant pain, social anxiety, and reduced confidence, affecting their self-esteem and overall quality of life.

How Oral Hygiene Affects Your General Well-Being

Other than heredity conditions, most dental diseases are caused by poor oral hygiene. In some cases, our oral health’s effect on our well-being is clear – a shiny set of teeth may be the difference between a confident smile and an awkward grin in social situations. Sometimes, however, the effect goes beyond the superficial to the physiological.

Certain diseases such as diabetes, arthritis, pneumonia, and some cardiovascular diseases can develop from dental diseases, especially periodontal diseases. On the other hand, some oral diseases are caused by autoimmune disorders such as Sjogren’s syndrome or AIDS.

Basically, your oral health can affect your systemic health in one of three ways:

  • Oral bacteria spread from the oral cavity into the bloodstream, causing infection.
  • Toxins are released by oral bacteria circulating in the blood, triggering inflammation and nerve dysfunction.
  • The exaggerated immune response caused by inflammation from an oral injury such as a broken tooth or damaged gums.

Common Conditions and Their Relation to Dental Health

  • Pneumonia
  • : Pneumonia can be caused by mouth bacteria travelling to the lungs, multiplying, and causing infection.
  • Endocarditis
  • : Bacteria from the mouth or other body parts can spread through the blood to the inner lining of the heart chamber [endocardium].
  • Birth
  • complications
  • : Serious gum diseases like periodontitis have been linked to premature birth during pregnancy.
  • Diabetes
  • : Diabetic patients have a hard time healing after injury, which can worsen gum diseases and make it impossible to heal over time.
  • Osteoporosis
  • : A condition that weakens the bones and joints and can cause tooth loss and weakening of the teeth canals.
  • Sjogren’s
  • syndrome
  • : An autoimmune disorder that affects the salivary glands, constantly drying the mouth.

What Can You Do? 

Luckily for many of us, doing the bare minimum in terms of dental care, i.e., brushing twice daily and flossing regularly, can prevent many of these oral diseases.

However, your overall health can benefit greatly from regular dental visits at least once a year to check for tartar, plaque build-up, and gum health.

So, even though your dentist discovers you are not at risk of serious systemic disease, at least you’ll be walking out with the confidence a bright, shiny smile brings. It is important to ensure that your dentist is reliable and skilled at their profession, like the dentists at Zen Dental.