Everybody knows that maintaining good oral health will help to prevent tooth decay and the development of gum disease. What most people don’t know is that their oral health affects their overall well-being. Read on to find out about the connection.
Covering the Basics
Maintaining good oral health doesn’t have to be difficult or expensive as long as people develop good habits. Brushing teeth, flossing, and scheduling routine exams and cleanings at a clinic like Perimeter Dentist Group is often all it takes to keep gingivitis and tooth decay at bay. It’s also the best way to take advantage of the overall positive effects of good oral health on a person’s well-being.
A Strong Correlation
Don’t believe that there’s really such a strong connection? The Healthy People 2020 study identified oral health as a leading health indicator for good reasons. Researchers know that oral health either directly or indirectly affects the quality of life because they have performed ample studies that show a strong correlation. While people with better overall well-being may be also more likely to take care of their teeth and gums, there’s no denying the connection.
Oral Health and Psychological Wellbeing
Oral health has an obvious correlation with psychological well-being, but it’s worth noting that in addition to being obvious, it’s also well-proven. People’s psychological and social well-being depends in part on how they and others perceive their physical appearance. As a result, having a beautiful smile that can be shown off when interacting with friends, going out on dates, or performing interviews has a direct positive impact on a person’s psychosocial well-being.
Oral Health and Chronic Health Conditions
There is a growing body of serious scientific research that identifies a connection between oral health and not just general well-being but specific chronic health conditions, including diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, and others. Animal studies show that oral exposure to the bacteria involved in gum disease can contribute to neuroinflammation and neurodegeneration, which may contribute to Alzheimer’s.
Exposure to the same bacteria may also play a role in the development of diabetes. More specifically, it could affect the pancreatic and liver cells in a way that contributes to diabetes risk. The bacteria are thought to cause changes in people’s pancreatic alpha and beta cells and their livers’ Kupffer cells, and these changes are thought to be critical in the development of diabetes.
Finally, these bacteria can travel into the blood and throughout the body where they can cause damage to the blood vessels. The inflammation can cause small blood clots, which may contribute to an increased risk of cardiovascular diseases like strokes and heart attacks.
Oral Health and Nutrition
There is one final connection that bears discussion. Although it’s obvious, it’s also important. People with poor oral health are less able to chew their food efficiently, which often leads to nutritional problems. Highly processed foods tend to be easier to chew, but they also contain far fewer nutrients and may further contribute to the onset or worsening of inflammatory conditions.
Take Action Now
The overall effects of poor oral health on a person’s life can be devastating, but the good news is that it’s easy to prevent issues with gum disease and periodontitis. All it takes is the development of good habits at home and visiting the dentist according to the right schedule for professional cleanings.