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Dental health is more important than most people realize. Oral hygiene has profound effects on your entire body and is a crucial component to your general health and well-being. According to the Academy of General Dentistry, the health of your teeth, gums, and mouth are inextricably linked to systemic diseases – serious conditions that can undermine the quality of your life.
Over 90 percent of all systemic diseases produce early symptoms like mouth ulcers, periodontal disease, inflamed gums, and other oral issues. Keep this in mind during your next teeth cleaning, as dentists can glean a lot more about your state of health than you might imagine.
How dental health affects overall health
Daily brushing and flossing can certainly help ward off halitosis (otherwise known as bad breath), but it serves a more important function: eliminating harmful bacteria. Bad breath is usually one of the first indicators of plaque build-up and tooth decay. When food particles are not brushed away, plaque can accumulate quickly, forming bacteria-laden pockets between the gums and teeth. Over time, this leads to periodontitis, also known as gum disease.
Without proper oral hygiene, dental health declines quickly, and untreated gum disease has a host of unpleasant consequences. There is the possibility of bleeding gums, mouth sores, and tooth loss, but it doesn’t end there.
Research has proven that oral bacteria and inflammation can lower the body’s immune system response and make you more susceptible to developing:
- Cardiovascular disease and stroke -- Studies suggest that oral bacteria can cause global inflammation and play a role in clogging arteries and forming atherosclerotic plaques that can cause heart attacks or stroke.
- Pneumonia – Excess bacterial toxins in the mouth and oral cavity are also linked to pneumonia and other respiratory problems.
- Diabetes – People with diabetes are more likely to develop gum disease than those without it because they are more susceptible to infection. However, the causal relationship goes both ways. Severe periodontal disease also increases blood glucose levels, putting patients at higher risk for complications.
- Bacterial endocarditis – Endocarditis is an infection of the inner heart chambers and lining caused by bloodborne bacteria that can travel to your heart.
- Kidney diseases -- Poor oral health is prevalent in patients who suffer from chronic kidney disease (CKD). Periodontitis and gum disease are associated with protein energy wasting, inflammation, and hardening of the arteries that can prove fatal for CKD patients.
- Increase risk pre-term birth & pre-eclampsia – According to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, oral infections are connected to at least 18 percent of pre-term and underweight babies born each year. Studies have also shown that women with severe gum disease are more likely to have high blood pressure during pregnancy.
- Dementia – Both blood tests and anecdotal evidence have demonstrated a connection between periodontal disease/widespread tooth loss and early-onset Alzheimer’s disease and impaired memory.
The relationship between dental health and overall physical health is a vital one. Practicing good oral hygiene is an easy way to keep those pearly whites gleaming and head off serious medical problems.
Protect your oral health
A healthy mouth is a portal to a healthy body. Beyond regular dental check-ups every six months, you can invest in your dental health by:
- Brushing twice a day with a natural fluoride-free toothpaste
- Flossing every day (twice per day is optimal)
- Avoid smoking, vaping and tobacco use
- Eating a nutritious, well-balanced diet
- Rinsing your mouth with water after meals if you can’t brush
Natural oral care for healthy teeth and gums
At home, Terra & Co. can help you make brushing and flossing part of your daily ‘self-care’ regimen, while also being ecologically responsible. Our vegan, charcoal toothpaste has both antifungal and antibacterial properties and helps remove plaque and tartar while restoring a healthy pH balance.
When it comes to brushing, isn’t it time to upgrade from your old plastic model? Consider going green with a charcoal-infused toothbrush made with ultra-strong and biodegradable bamboo. The soft-to-medium bristles are infused with nature’s toughest stain and plaque busters: activated charcoal.
Enjoy the benefits of cleaner, brighter teeth and a healthy mouth with eco-friendly products designed for the whole family.