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How does dental hygiene affect your overall health?

A great oral hygiene routine helps to keep your mouth healthy, preventing dental decay and gum disease. Here, our Arthur dentists discuss the importance of a good oral hygiene routine and how it can impact your overall health and well-being.

Practicing good oral hygiene, including good at-home care combined with professional examinations and cleanings, is one reasonably reliable predictor of better dental health outcomes. This means you are more likely to retain your teeth as you age if you have good oral hygiene practices. Since dental health can impact overall physical well-being, good oral hygiene practices can have a positive impact on your overall health.

Importance of a Healthy Salivary Flow

Saliva is a helpful diagnostic tool, in that it can help doctors and dentists to identify and diagnose systemic diseases before their symptoms become apparent.

In addition, saliva can help disable bacteria and viruses before they enter your system. In fact, saliva is one of your body’s main defences against disease-causing organisms.

Saliva contains antibodies that attack viral pathogens, such as the common cold and even HIV. It also contains enzymes that destroy bacteria in several different ways including degrading bacterial membranes, disrupting vital bacterial enzyme systems, and inhibiting the growth and metabolism of some bacteria.

The best and easiest way to maintain a healthy salivary flow is simply, just drink plenty of water throughout the day to stay hydrated.

Dental Plaque

Your mouth houses over 500 species of bacteria that are constantly forming dental plaque, a sticky, colourless film that clings to your teeth and causes a variety of health problems.

If you don’t brush and floss your teeth regularly and thoroughly, you’re allowing dental plaque to build up between your gums and teeth, eventually leading to a gum infection called gingivitis. Left unchecked, gingivitis can lead to a more serious infection called periodontitis (gum disease).

If you have periodontitis, simply undergoing a dental treatment or just brushing your teeth can provide a port of entry for the abundant bacteria in your mouth to enter your bloodstream.

If your immune system is healthy, the presence of oral bacteria in your bloodstream shouldn't lead to any serious problems. If it has been weakened on the other hand, for example by a disease or by cancer treatment, oral bacteria in your bloodstream can lead to an infection elsewhere in the body.

Infective endocarditis, which is when oral bacteria enter the bloodstream and stick to the lining of diseased heart valves, is an example of this.

How Dental Plaque Can Lead to Serious Conditions

Having a healthy mouth may help you ward off certain diseases and medical problems such as stroke, heart attack, complications related to diabetes, and even pre-term labour.

Poorly Controlled Diabetes

Chronic gum disease may make diabetes more difficult to control. The infection may cause insulin resistance, which can disrupt blood sugar control.

Cardiovascular Disease

Bacteria in the mouth may cause inflammation throughout the body, including the arteries. This means that gingivitis can play a role in clogged arteries and blood clots throughout the body.

In addition, gum disease and tooth loss may contribute to the development of plaques in the carotid artery.

If you're due for an oral hygiene cleaning and exam, contact our Arthur dentists to schedule an appointment.

New Patients Always Welcome

Looking for a dentist in Arthur? We're happily accepting new patients at our dental clinic! Contact us to get started today. 

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