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Oral health and overall health

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November 27, 2020

Oral health and overall health

Studies reveal that our oral and overall health are closely related. Learn more about this link and the impact of poor oral health on your overall health.

When it comes to dental health, most of us have a similar way of dealing with it - not dealing with it till the pain kicks-in. We’re talking ‘not even Panadol works anymore' pain! 

Oral health is like the neglected step-child begging for attention with little to no luck. We often treat oral health and overall health as two separate conversations. But studies suggest the two are closely linked; they are a part of the same body after all! 

Here are some health problems related to poor oral health - 

Dementia & Alzheimer's

Researchers at the University of Bergen have found a clear link between gum disease and Alzheimer's. They have found DNA-based proof that the bacteria causing gingivitis can move from the mouth to the brain. Here it produces a protein that destroys nerve cells in the brain, which in turn leads to Dementia and ultimately, Alzheimer's.

Diabetes

The first signs of diabetes can be spotted in the mouth. Some commonly observed symptoms include gum disease, gum abscesses, fungal infections such as thrush, mouth ulcers. Like all infections, gum inflammation can cause your blood sugar to rise making diabetes even harder to control. Paying attention to your oral health can help in early detection and better management of diabetes. 

Respiratory diseases

Our mouth is not too far from our respiratory tract and lungs. Due to its proximity, the bacteria from infected teeth and swollen gums can reach our respiratory system through the air we breathe or through the bloodstream. Once there, it can lead to respiratory infections, pneumonia, acute bronchitis, and even COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease).

Pregnancy complications

A mom's health is connected to the health of her unborn baby and that includes oral health too! Bacteria from gums can enter the bloodstream and travel to the uterus. Here it triggers the production of chemicals that are suspected to induce premature labor. Remember, a mom with poor oral health is very likely to pass-on damaging bacteria to her newborn.

Overall wellbeing

Our smile is one of the ways we connect with others. Poor oral health leads to conditions like bad breath and overall bad teeth which directly affects our smile. This takes a toll on a person's self-esteem, confidence and overall ability to socialise. It also affects communication skills, participation at school and overall  social development in kids.

Your oral health gives a sneak-peek into your general health. Taking care of your oral health goes a long way in reducing the risk of more serious health problems.

This article is intended to promote understanding and knowledge about general oral health topics. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your dentist or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have.

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