You probably are aware of the fact that poor oral health can lead to cavities. But, have you ever wondered whether a problem in your mouth affects the rest of your body? Well, it could cause serious health issues to your entire body. Like every other part of the body, your mouth hosts a number of bacteria—most of which are harmless. However, poor oral care allows bacteria to reach levels that can lead to oral infections as well as several overall health problems.
Your mouth is said to be the window to your body’s health. Therefore, let’s take a look at how oral health affects your overall health:
Poor oral care can lead to advanced tooth decay, which causes early tooth loss. Teeth are essential in speech production. This means lack of teeth or their misplacement can cause impaired speech development.
Pain and Lack of Sleep
Each and every part of your body is connected to the other. Your jaw structure, which is determined by your oral health, affects your bite, nerves, spine, muscles, and even airways. This means severely misaligned teeth can affect these body parts and cause headaches, neck pains, backaches, or even shoulder soreness and pain. Oral inflammation and gum disease also cause intense pain. And, you probably know that pain is the most obvious effect on sleep.
Teeth that look good and a mouth that smells nice encourage a positive state of mind. Plus, poor oral health can lead to misaligned teeth, which can alter your face profile as well as your smile. This may be embarrassing and cause you to be reluctant to smile, affecting your self-confidence.
Pregnancy and Birth
Periodontitis is a serious progressive gum disease caused by poor oral health. Pregnant women with periodontitis are more likely to deliver a low-birth-weight baby, have premature births, or even develop gestational diabetes. This is because oral bacteria release toxins into the bloodstream, which then reach the placenta. Also, oral infections cause pregnant women to generate labour-triggering substances at an unusual rate. Babies born under such conditions are more likely to develop complications such as behavioural difficulties, developmental problems, ear infections, and asthma. Pregnant women should take extra care of their oral health, not only for themselves but for their children as well.
While we know that diabetic people are more susceptible to gum diseases, new studies suggest that serious gum diseases, which are caused by poor oral health, could actually lead to diabetes. People with progressive gum disease experience a hard time controlling their blood sugar levels. And, an oral infection may cause insulin resistance. Therefore, treating periodontal disease and maintain good oral health can reduce the need for insulin in diabetic people.
Studies suggest that there’s a link between cardiovascular diseases and oral health. Gum diseases, oral inflammation, as well as infections caused by excess bacteria (gingivitis) produced in the mouth due to poor oral care, might be linked to cardiovascular diseases such as heart disease, stroke, and clogged arteries. Gum disease increases inflammation throughout your entire body, which allows plaques to develop in the arteries, increasing the rate at which cardiovascular diseases can occur. Studies also suggest that tooth loss can also contribute to plaques.
People who neglect proper oral health suffer from periodontal disease, which allows the breeding of excess bacteria in your mouth. This means, they are high chances of them inhaling germs, which could cause lung infections such as pneumonia. In addition, the bacteria in plaque can also travel to your lungs and aggravate pre-existing lung infections.
Poor oral health doesn’t just involve lack of brushing your teeth and flossing, it also includes poor oral practices such as using tobacco products, for instance, cigarettes, which can cause oral, throat, lung, and oesophageal cancer. Other types of cancer like kidney cancer, blood cancer, and pancreatic cancer have also been linked to poor oral health. The excess bacteria found in your mouth due to poor oral health has been linked to increasing the development of cancer. As oral inflammation grows so does tumours, which cause more tissues to get damaged.
There’s a cyclical relationship that exists between oral and mental health. As we’ve seen before, poor oral health affects speech. This can lead to significant social anxiety, not to mention, bad breathe can also aggravate social anxiety.
The best way to avoid all these health complications is to practice good oral hygiene, which includes:
- Eating a healthy diet.
- Brushing your teeth twice daily
- Avoid using tobacco products.
- Avoiding sugary foods as well as carbonated drinks.
- Visiting the dentist and going for a dental check-up regularly.
- Flossing daily.