Regular dental visits can do more than just keep your smile appealing – dentists can tell a lot about your overall health, including whether or not you may be developing a heart disease. New research found that your oral health reflects the condition of your overall health. Conversely, good oral health may actually prevent certain diseases.
As stated by the Academy of General Dentistry, there is an association between gum (periodontal) disease and health problems such as stroke or heart disease. For example, women with gum disease show higher rates of pre-term, low birth-weight babies.
Another research says that more than 90% of all systemic diseases (including several organs or the whole body) have oral manifestations including swollen gums, mouth ulcers, dry mouth and excessive gum problems. Such diseases consist of:
- Heart disease
- Oral cancer
- Pancreatic cancer
- Kidney disease
Poor oral health can lead to other health problems if not taken care of. Mouth infections can affect major organs, such as the heart - heart valves could swell by bacterial endocarditis - a disease that affects people with heart disease or anyone with impaired heart tissue. Next is digestion; it starts with physical and chemical processes in the mouth that can lead to intestinal failure, cantankerous bowel syndrome and other digestive disorders.
What can you do:
- Regular visit to a dentist help to keep your dental health in good condition, while assuring early identification of other health issues.
- You have to provide your dentist with a complete medical history and update them on any recent health developments, however unrelated they may seem to your oral health.
At home, you can practise good oral hygiene by:
- Brushing your teeth twice a day or after every meal.
- Flossing daily to remove plaque from places your toothbrush can't reach.
- Eating a healthy diet to provide yourself with foods rich in vitamins A and C.
- Avoiding cigarettes, as they may contribute to gum disease and oral cancer.