Maintaining good oral hygiene is crucial for a healthy mouth. It helps prevent dental decay and gum disease. Our dentists in Hampton highlight the significance of a healthy mouth in improving overall health and well-being.
Taking care of your teeth and practicing good oral hygiene is a pretty reliable way to predict better dental health results. It means that if you develop good habits for oral hygiene, you're more likely to keep your teeth as you get older. Since dental health can affect your overall physical well-being, having good oral hygiene practices can actually improve your overall health.
A Healthy Salivary Flow
Saliva is a useful tool for doctors and dentists to detect and diagnose systemic diseases early, even before symptoms show up.
Moreover, saliva acts as a defense mechanism against harmful bacteria and viruses by preventing them from entering your body. It serves as one of your body's primary protection against disease-causing organisms.
Saliva contains antibodies that fight against viral pathogens like the common cold and HIV. It also has enzymes that destroy bacteria in various ways, such as breaking down bacterial membranes, disrupting important bacterial enzyme systems, and inhibiting the growth and metabolism of certain bacteria.
Maintaining a healthy salivary flow is relatively simple for most individuals. The key is to stay well-hydrated! Remember to drink an ample amount of water throughout the day to keep your salivary flow in good condition.
Dental Plaque & Infection
Your mouth is home to more than 500 types of bacteria. These bacteria create dental plaque, a sticky and colorless film that sticks to your teeth. This plaque can lead to various health issues.
If you don't regularly and thoroughly brush and floss your teeth, dental plaque can accumulate between your gums and teeth. This buildup can eventually cause a gum infection known as gingivitis. If left untreated, gingivitis can progress to a more severe infection called periodontitis, which affects your gums.
If you have periodontitis, simple dental treatments or brushing your teeth can create an entry point for the numerous bacteria in your mouth to enter your bloodstream.
When your immune system is strong and healthy, the presence of oral bacteria in your bloodstream is not problematic. However, if your immune system is weakened due to a disease or cancer treatment, the oral bacteria in your bloodstream can cause an infection in other parts of your body.
An example of this is infective endocarditis, where oral bacteria enter the bloodstream and attach to the lining of diseased heart valves.
Dental Plaque's Link to Common Conditions
Maintaining good oral health can potentially protect you against various diseases and medical issues, including stroke, heart attack, diabetes-related complications, and even premature labor.
Poorly Controlled Diabetes
Chronic gum disease can complicate diabetes management by making it harder to control. The infection can lead to insulin resistance, which affects blood sugar regulation.
Bacteria in the mouth can lead to inflammation in the whole body, including the arteries. This means that gingivitis might be connected to blocked arteries and blood clots.
Moreover, gum disease and tooth loss can contribute to the formation of plaques in the carotid artery.