Dental Article-

Oral Hygiene and Your Overall Health

Poor oral health has been linked to heart disease, stroke, and other health problems. But by changing certain habits, you can improve the health of your mouth and teeth and lessen your risk.

How well you care for your teeth and gums has a powerful effect on your overall health. Neglecting your oral health lead to more than just sore teeth and bad breath â it can open the door to all sorts of health problems, including some pretty nasty diseases like oral cancer. Researchers have found possible connections between gum problems and heart disease, bacterial pneumonia, stroke, and even problem pregnancies.

âYou cannot be healthy with an unhealthy mouth any more than one can be healthy with an infected footâ

The Role of Diet and Lifestyle in Oral Health

A number of dietary habits and lifestyle factors can affect oral health, including:

Sugar consumption: âHaving a sugar-laden diet will contribute to tooth decay and gum problems, as the bacteria in the mouth thrive in this environment,â producing tooth and gum-destroying enzymes and acids.

Smoking: Dental care experts have long known that smoking cigarettes and cigars and using tobacco products can cause periodontal disease (gum disease), tooth decay, and oral cancer. Cigars can also cause periodontal disease and throat, or pharyngeal, cancer. âThe smoke from tobacco has a toxic effect on gum tissue, and can interfere with blood flowâ. âSmoking also stains the heck out of teeth, is a direct cause of oral cancer, and can contribute to bad breath.â

Drinking alcohol: âDrinking can contribute to oral problems indirectly by resulting in a dehydrated mouth, which can allow bacteria to run rampantâ. In addition, people who have alcohol addiction issues are probably less likely to consistently follow good dental care habits.

Changes in weight: For those who wear dentures, changes in body weight tend to affect the way dentures fit. âJust as weight gain or loss affects the way clothes fit, that gain or loss also affects the gum pads on which dentures restâ. To help maintain a healthy weight and fight tooth decay, eat a diet rich in high-fiber fruits and vegetables.

Medication:  âSome medications, for example, some antibiotics, can cause internal staining of teeth, such as tetracycline staining, depending on the age at which you take themâ. Also, âthere are 200 to 400 medications, prescribed or over-the-counter, that have the side effect of drying up saliva. A dry mouth is more prone to gum disease and tooth decay, as well as bad breath.â

Healthy Mouth, Healthy Body

To maintain your oral health â and overall good health âyou should see your dentist regularly to head off any problems early. You should also practice good oral hygiene at home by carefully brushing and flossing your teeth regularly in order to prevent plaque from accumulating and causing problems. There is nothing a dentist can do that a patient canât undo by neglecting their dental care.