Do you pay extra care and attention to your teeth? If so, then great! Nothing beats having strong, pearly white teeth and healthy gums.
But did you know that the benefits of brushing teeth go beyond what’s happening inside your mouth? Medical experts say that multiple oral health problems have a direct impact on the mortality rate.
Unfortunately, some people continue to downplay the importance of dental hygiene. Some do not even brush at least twice a day, let alone use dental floss.
Continue reading below as we look at how oral hygiene affects your systemic health in five ways.
1. Your Guts
Taking bad breath home remedies is good when done right. But it is not enough especially if the bacteria inside your mouth can reach your guts. Studies reveal that 45% of the bacteria in your intestines are also present in your mouth.
Moreover, people ingest around 140 billion viruses, bacteria, and fungi every day. This happens every time you swallow. Though not all bacteria are evil, some can cause serious issues in your gastrointestinal tract.
One of the problems that stem from poor dental health is inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD). Though these diseases vary, they all share common denominators. They all feature inflammation and they are all chronic in nature.
Furthermore, poor oral health may also contribute to liver cirrhosis. This pertains to the scarring of the liver. Doctors discovered that 54% of the bad bacteria affecting liver cirrhosis patients come from the mouth.
Moreover, advanced gum problems may also increase the risk of gut-related cancers. These include cancer in the liver and pancreas, among others.
2. Your Heart Health
Going up a little further in the body, your oral health may also impact your heart health. Studies point to a correlation between oral infections like periodontitis and cardiovascular disease.
Moreover, oral microbes can also contribute to atherosclerosis. This is the buildup of fats and cholesterol on the artery walls. When this plaque becomes too thick, it can reduce the flow of oxygen in the body.
In turn, your key body systems will not get the right amount of nutrients they need. And when things get out of hand, you may experience a stroke or heart attack.
3. Your Immune System
Dental health and wellness indeed intertwine that the former directly affects your immune system. Since 70% of the immune system lies in your gut, the microbes from your mouth that end up in your stomach affects your ability to fight off infections.
But more than that, the battle sometimes begins right inside your mouth. Dental plaque may result in poor immune responses. When the infection gets into your gums, inflammation may occur.
Ideally, your immune system is the one that manages the inflammation. However, the pathogens that affect the oral cavity may disrupt your systematic health. As a result, you may experience chronic inflammation.
Moreover, things can lead to more serious problems. Immune system disruptions will make you more susceptible to heart ailments. They can also increase your risk of autoimmune conditions.
An example of an autoimmune issue that correlates with oral pathogens is rheumatoid arthritis. This is a chronic inflammatory condition that affects the joints and skin. In more severe cases, it can affect your lungs, eyes, and heart.
4. Your Brain
In medical science, there is a theory they call the gut-brain axis. This pertains to the biochemical signaling that happens between your guts and your central nervous system. It notes that the trillions of microbes inside your gut also produce chemicals that affect brain function.
Hence, if you don’t have a healthy gut, your brain health may also suffer. And because oral health directly impacts gut health, the value of oral hygiene becomes more significant.
As for the issues surrounding the gut-brain axis, anxiety and depression are two of the most common ones. Unfortunately, a lot of people fail to see the connection between oral health and anxiety.
Interestingly, studies reveal that anxiety and depression have a direct correlation with bleeding gums, toothaches, and poor dental health.
Furthermore, medical experts are looking into the possible connection of the gingival bacteria and Alzheimer’s disease. Some experts raised the idea that gingival bacteria may be the culprit behind Alzheimer’s disease.
Gingival bacteria are the pathogens that cause gum disease.
The idea is that gingival bacteria may find its way from the mouth and to your spinal cord. Its final destination will be your brain. And once it reaches the brain, it creates gingipains.
Gingipains eventually play a role in the development of Alzheimer’s.
5. Your Endocrine System
Lastly, poor oral hygiene can also affect your endocrine system. This is the system in charge of producing and secreting different hormones for the body to function.
One of the deadliest diseases that affect this system is diabetes. Though diabetes comes through genes or an unhealthy lifestyle and poor eating habits, bad oral hygiene can also become a risk factor.
People who develop periodontitis become more prone to becoming diabetic.
Another endocrine-related issue that may connect with poor oral health is obesity. A study noted that obesity may start in the oral microbiome.
Boosting Your Oral and Systemic Health
With the many ways dental health can affect your overall wellness, it is important to become more proactive with your oral health. Here are some quick tips to help boost your dental hygiene and protect your systemic health:
- Make sure to brush your teeth at least twice a day. When brushing, make sure to use a toothbrush with soft bristles.
- Make sure that your toothpaste comes with fluoride.
- Apart from brushing, make sure to floss your teeth. Also, gargle with mouthwash for best results.
- Quit smoking. If you plan to give it a try, don’t.
- Visit your dentist every six months.
Don’t forget to eat right too. Avoid eating junk and sugary food and stick to more fruits and vegetables.
Go Beyond Dental Health
Now that you know the impact of oral hygiene on systemic health, you can improve your overall wellness and become a healthier person. But dental health is only one of the areas you need to focus on.
Check out our other health and wellness articles. We discuss different topics that will help you become a healthier and happier person.