The Secret of Oral Health
People are innately curious. This is evident in the fact that when some people hear whispering, they may try to listen or join in, while others may incessantly pester their friend to surrender their secrets. As a whole, humanity loves secrets. Well I have a pretty juicy secret for you about your oral health, so listen closely…
…the secret of oral health is that it has the potential to affect your overall health, either positively or negatively.
For some, this may come as quite a shock. For others, they may have heard this before. Still, others may have simply stopped reading at this point. Joke’s on them though, because this is a highly important secret to know.
Now that I’ve unleashed my secret, I suppose I should explain more about it. At this point, you’re probably wondering how things like tooth decay and gum disease can possibly affect other areas of the body that obviously don’t have teeth or gums.
To explain how tooth decay and gum disease can affect the rest of your body, let’s first look briefly at those two oral health conditions. Both tooth decay and gum disease are caused by bacteria in the mouth. Although this bacteria is naturally-occurring, problems arise when excessive amounts of bacteria collect in dental plaque.
Plaque is a clear film that sits on the surface of your teeth. It is removed through regular brushing and flossing, however it can become a breeding ground for bacteria when left in place. Plaque on the teeth cause bacteria to reside in a single area. Since bacteria are living, they consume sugar and excrete an acidic waste product. When several thousand bacteria are in one area, this causes a high concentration of acid to eventually wear away the enamel. This is what is formally known as tooth decay.
Additionally, when plaque accumulates along the gum line or inside the gum pockets, this causes the gum tissue to become inflamed and infected as well. This is known as gum disease. While these bacteria are primarily known for causing tooth decay and gum disease, they can cause problems in other areas of the body as well.
When one’s oral health is significantly compromised, it becomes easier for bacteria to enter the bloodstream. Once in the bloodstream, the bacteria can travel to multiple places in the body. Specifically, there has been research done to suggest that the bacteria from tooth decay and gum disease has been associated with cardiac and respiratory problems.
Unfortunately, if bacteria are able to travel through the bloodstream and attach to the inner linings of the heart, this results in a serious infection known as endocarditis. Not only that, but oral health conditions have been associated with clogged arteries, heart attack, and stroke. A recent study completed by the University of North Carolina School of Dentistry even found data that suggested people with gum disease are twice as likely to die from a heart attack and three times as likely to have a stroke. Additionally, poor oral health has also been linked to pneumonia and other respiratory disease, pregnancy complications, and diabetes complications.
As you can see, your oral health affects more than just your mouth. Although tooth decay and gum disease may not be life-threatening conditions, they can quickly escalate and cause other medical conditions that are life-threatening. For this reason, it is extremely important to brush, floss, and visit your dentist regularly to maintain your oral health. The secret of oral health is not one that you want to keep quiet and now that you know, be sure to pass it on.
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