In this article: Why is oral health important | Diseases caused by bad oral health | Oral health – your health indicator | Takeaway
4 min read
Do you have a good smile? Fair enough. Dental visits are not for you. Right?
Dental visits are least taken seriously, and most often we drop at the dentist’s office only when you need your teeth corrected, or there is an uncomfortable pain in a tooth or the gums! Such is the importance we give to oral health. However, your oral health is more important than you may think!
Because bad oral health might cause problems elsewhere in your body, and the vice versa, that is, problems elsewhere in your body can cause oral health problems.
Thus, there is a critical connection between the mouth and your body’s overall health. In fact, your doctor can give a prognosis of possible medical conditions in your body with one good look into your mouth!
Ill-maintained oral health can lead to diseases
Many of you may not know that your mouth is home to a thriving community of bacteria! As many as 600 species of microbes live in your mouth; while some are good for you, some might be quite harmful. Hence, when your oral cavity is not maintained, there is a risk of harmful bacteria getting into your body, causing problems such as pneumonia, endocarditis, arthritis flare, pregnancy, and birth complications.
Pregnant women with periodontal disease, also called the gum infection, have an increased risk of preterm or low birth weight for the baby.
Some studies also suggest a link between prolonged periodontal diseases to the development of cardiovascular problems. The bacteria in your mouth can travel to your heart, causing heart problems, clogged arteries, and even stroke.
Hence it is essential to schedule regular visits to a dentist to catch such conditions before their progression.
Oral health problems, an indicator of medical conditions
On the other hand, deteriorating oral health might indicate a medical condition progressing in your body.
A prolonged periodontal disease like swollen gums, mobile teeth and persistent bad breath may indicate a systemic health condition in the body such as diabetes, blood disorders or even HIV infection. Such conditions lower the body’s immunity, which puts one at a greater risk for oral diseases.
Importance of oral cavity in nutrition
Everything that you eat or drink passes through your mouth before it gets digested in the stomach and absorbed into the bloodstream. Hence, the mouth is often referred to as ‘the gateway to our body’.
As simple as eating is for you, every part of the mouth has its distinct role in helping you in the process.
- Teeth allow you to chew food until it has turned into a form that can easily pass down the throat. Every type of tooth is specialized for its specific function – while the teeth in the front help you bite, those at the back help you chew.
- Tongue not only allows you to taste the food but also detect a potentially harmful ingredient, if any, in the food. Moreover, the movement of the tongue rolls the food into balls, allowing its easy passage into the food canal.
- Saliva has a vital role in managing the process of chewing. When food enters your mouth, the enzymes in saliva start to digest some of it after which the chewed food is lubricated enough to be passed down the throat.
If any of these components stopped functioning, something as simple as eating would become a hassle!
So, Why is oral health important? – Final Word
Thus, assessing the connection between your mouth and the rest of the body, we can conclude:
- Maintaining oral health translates to maintaining overall health
- Attending oral health problems, potentially helps in early detection of chronic medical conditions
- A functional mouth is crucial for good absorption of nutrients
So, brush your teeth twice a day, perform inter-dental flossing at least once a day, use mouth rinses as prescribed by the dentist and have regular dental check-ups. Your teeth and body will thank you:-)
Edited by love4wellness | Images: canva.com