These days, a lot of people consider dental health and overall health as two separate and unrelated entities. In actuality, your oral health is so intertwined with your overall health that in many cases, taking good care of your teeth can prevent certain diseases later on in life. If you are one of these people, here are four surprising ways your dental habits can directly impact your physical and mental well-being.
Surprising Ways Your Dental and Overall Health Are Related
1. Protection from Serious Diseases
Research suggests a correlation between instances of gum disease and certain bacterial infections, like endocarditis, pneumonia, and respiratory infections. These infections can occur when a patient with gum disease experiences bacteria entering their bloodstream through the deteriorating tissues in their mouth. Gum disease can also contribute to stroke and heart disease when bacteria in the bloodstream causes inflammation in the veins and arteries.
2. Protection from Disease Complications
People diagnosed with certain chronic illnesses, like osteoporosis, diabetes, or HIV, can experience worsening symptoms and other complications if their dental health is neglected. For example, the onset of gum disease can make it difficult for the body to regulate its blood sugar and blood pressure levels, which can be dangerous among people with diabetes. People with diabetes and HIV must also practice adequate oral hygiene due to their vulnerable immune systems.
3. Supports Mental Health
The self-consciousness that accompanies poor oral health can be detrimental to one’s emotional sense of well-being and self-esteem. In fact, there is a direct correlation between tooth decay and poor outcomes. Adults with failing and missing teeth are shown to perform poorly in job interviews, thus affecting their ability to find jobs. In the same vein, children who don’t receive dental care are more likely to perform poorly and receive lower grades compared to same-age classmates that do receive dental care. Fortunately, modern cosmetic dentistry can restore the look of a person’s smile and provide a life-changing confidence boost at the same time.
4. Prolongs Life
Paying attention to your dental health can actually help you live longer. According to scientific research, seniors who have twenty or more remaining natural teeth by the age of 70 are prone to live many more years than those with less than twenty remaining teeth. While the exact nature of this correlation is yet to be determined, it can be assumed that the healthy hygiene habits required to maintain good teeth and the increased quality of life from having a healthy smile both play a factor in prolonging one’s lifespan.
Tips for Healthier Teeth at Home
1. Brush and Floss Daily
Most dentists recommend to brush at least twice a day and floss daily to maintain good oral health. By making this a daily habit, you can decrease the risk of forming cavities and protect yourself from gum disease and tooth decay.
2. Avoid Sugar
A diet high in sugar feeds the bacteria in your mouth, which can eventually lead to cavities. For optimum dental health, it’s important to limit sodas, candies, pastries, and other sugary treats as much as possible.
3. Don’t Forget Your Tongue
Your tongue can harbor bacteria and develop plaque, just like your teeth. Remember to thoroughly brush your tongue after you brush your teeth. Adding this simple step to your routine will not only prevent serious dental issues, but freshens your breath as well.
Get Expert Help
Along with taking care of your teeth at home, it’s important to visit your dentist regularly for cleanings, exams, and corrections. Dr. Harleen Grewel, D.D.S., and his team at Skyline Smiles in Santa Clarita, CA have the knowledge and experience to help optimize your dental health. Contact us at www.skylinesmilessc.com to book your first appointment today.
Dr. Harleen Grewal, DDS, brings years of experience and exceptional chairside manner to Skyline Smiles in Santa Clarita, CA. A dean's list graduate of USC, she holds a specialty certificate in pediatric dentistry from Lutheran Medical Center. Dr. Harleen's dedication extends beyond her practice, as she volunteers at the USC Mobile Clinic and is a proud member of the ADA and AAPD.