Did you know that protecting your oral health is not just about ensuring that your teeth look great, but is also essential to your general health? It is correct that brushing your teeth and visiting the dentist regularly is vital in order to protect your smile for life, but there are many other reasons to take care of your oral health, so read on to find out more.
Dental health is connected to many different aspects of overall health, including cardiovascular health, cancer and diabetes. Learning more about the connection between good oral health and good general health is a great way to under-stand why you should prioritise caring for your mouth, teeth and gums, as well as teaching your children to do the same.
How Brushing Your Teeth Can Help You To Live Longer:
Oral health is crucial to your wellbeing, and you may not realise that poor dental health can have so many negative effects on your general health. The following are all health concerns that can be linked to dental health, and being aware of these can help you to avoid developing problems.
Oral health is linked to:
1. Cardiovascular health. The health of your gums can be a risk factor for several serious health conditions, including heart disease and stroke, and research shows that individuals with periodontal disease (inflamed or infected gums) have a greater risk of heart disease and double the risk of fatal heart attack compared with those with healthy gums. Having in-flamed gums is known to increase the inflammation throughout your whole body, and this is a risk factor that can lead to cardiovascular problems. Protecting your gums, therefore, is a good way to protect yourself against these problems with your cardiovascular system, and visiting your dentist and dental hygienist regularly will help you with this. Your dentist will ask you about any heart disease in your family, as well as your own general and cardiovascular health, and your hygienist can show you the best ways to protect your gums and keep them in great shape.
2. Lung infections. Research shows that people who suffer from periodontal disease have more bacteria in their mouths, and this can lead to increased germs in the body. This increases the risk of infections such as pneumonia that can affect the lungs, and is more likely to cause problems for people with lung problems such as Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), who already have compromised lungs. Keeping your gums clean and healthy is a great way to protect against high levels of bacteria in your body, and it’s important to talk to your dentist or dental hygienist if you are worried about inflammation, redness or pain in your gums.
3. Cancers. Did you know that protecting your oral health can help to reduce your risk of oral or throat cancer? Smoking is one of the biggest risk factors in many different types of cancer, including lung cancer, mouth cancer and cancer of the throat. Giving up smoking is a very important way to protect your general health and your oral health at the same times, and you can be sure that it will lower your risk of developing cancer as well as improving bad breath and preventing receding gums and discoloured teeth. Regular dental examinations are vital to monitor the health of your mouth and neck, and your dentist will look out for risk factors that may be signs of serious conditions each time you visit.
4. Joint health. It may seem strange that your oral health is related to the health of your joints, but it’s true! Bruxism is the term given to teeth grinding, and this can have severe consequences for the joints of the jaw. Frequent or severe tooth grinding puts a great deal of pressure on the jaw, and this can also wear down the enamel and cause increased sensitivity and chipped teeth. In some cases, bruxism can cause inflammation and pain in the lower jaw, which leads to pain, earache, headaches and tightness throughout the jaw. The joints affected are referred to as the temporomandibular joints, or TMJ, and this condition can be debilitating. You can talk to your dentist about tooth grinding, and he or she will almost certainly recognise the signs on examination! Your dentist has the experience and opportunity to pick up on several potentially serious health conditions, so it is very important to have regular dental checks.
5. Diabetes. If you have diabetes, you’ll probably already be aware that people with diabetes are more likely to suffer with gum disease. New research is emerging that suggests that serious gum disease may be one of the factors that contributes to diabetes because it can affect blood glucose control. It appears, therefore, that taking care of your teeth and gums could also have a preventative effect against developing diabetes, which is becoming more common in Ireland today. Researchers suggest that the link may be due to the increased levels of bacteria and toxins in people with periodontal gum infections, which can increase insulin resistance in the body and have a negative effect on blood glucose levels.
Protecting Oral and General Health in the Next Generation
In our dental practice, we prioritise teaching children and young people great dental habits for life. This is especially important in order to protect their general health as they grow up, and should be practised alongside eating a great diet and getting plenty of exercise. Role modelling is the best way to teach your children how to care for their teeth, so ensuring that you have regular dental check ups, brush your teeth twice daily and floss daily are all great ways to encourage your children to protect their teeth as you take care of yours.
Gum disease in pregnant women increases risk for their babies, and studies shows that these women are more likely to develop gestational diabetes, go into labour early or give birth to babies with low birth weights. All of these conditions can be linked with poor outcomes for babies, since low birthweight and pre-term birth is known to increase the risk of problems that include developmental difficulties, ear infections, increased incidences of asthma, birth abnormalities and behavioural difficulties, as well as an increased risk of infant death. This makes dental check ups even more vital during pregnancy, to protect the health of your baby as well as yourself.
Visit Your Dentist In Ballincollig
Are you looking for a family friendly dental practice in Cork? Caring for your teeth and gums is a very important way to protect yourself against many serious health conditions, and we can help you to do this. We know that many people are worried about visiting the dentist, and we can work with you to help make this an easy, stress free process.
We would love to welcome you to Guiney Dental Clinic, where our professional team of dentists and dental hygienists can help you and your family with emergency or routine dental care. To make an appointment, call the Guiney Dental Practice today on 021-481 0535.