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Healthy Smile, Healthy You: Top 5 Reasons Why Good Oral Care is Important

We all understand the importance of good oral hygiene that includes brushing twice a day, flossing daily and regular dental checkups. Did you know that by taking care of your teeth and gums you are also investing in your overall health? 

Research has shown there is a relationship between poor oral health and an increased risk for serious health conditions that can affect your entire body. Here are the 5 top reasons you need to pay attention to your oral health.

Photo by Nhia Moua

What is Gum Disease?

Gum disease is a common condition that occurs when plaque in your mouth builds up along your gum line. This creates a condition for other harmful bacteria to thrive and the build-up creates an infection in the space between your gums and teeth. This is also known as gingivitis and if not treated it can lead to a serious gum infection called periodontitis. The signs are usually swollen and bleeding gums.

If mouth bacteria from gum disease enter the bloodstream or are inhaled in the lungs it can lead to serious health conditions. Normally when a body is healthy and your immune system is functioning properly it can quickly kill any harmful bacteria that enter the system. If your immunity is compromised because of an infection or illness it cannot as easily fight off these intruders.

Reason #1 – Increased Risk of Cardiovascular Disease –

Harmful mouth bacteria from gingivitis causes inflammation in the gums, but it can also cause inflammation in the rest of the body, including your heart. When the arteries in the heart are inflamed they start to trap plaque and create blockages, leading to heart attacks and stroke.

Reason #2 – Increased Risk of Respiratory and Kidney Infections

When bacteria from gum infections in the mouth are inhaled they can cause lung infections, including some types of pneumonia, bronchitis or COPD. Bacteria from gum disease can also travel through the bloodstream and is linked to higher rates of kidney disease.

Reason #3 – Increased Risk of Pregnancy Complications

Good oral health is also extremely important for pregnant women and their babies. Pregnant women are more at risk for gum disease and inflammation because of their elevated hormone levels. Gum disease has been shown to increase the risk of preterm birth and low birth weight in infants.

It is thought that the harmful bacteria associated with gum disease can travel through the mother’s bloodstream to the placenta where they can affect the growth rate and the development of the fetus. This same bacteria and infection can also cause the mother to go into labour preterm.

Reason #4 – Early Oral Cancer detection

At a regular dental visit, a guelph dentist, like Dr. Urszula Barrios, will examine your teeth and gums. Part of this examination is looking for early signs of oral cancer. If detected early these cancers can easily be treated. If not caught early they can quickly grow into a serious condition.

Reason #5 – Your Self-confidence and Well Being

Poor oral health affects not only your teeth and gums but also your self-confidence, mental and social well being and the ability to enjoy your quality of life. If you have tooth or gum pain it makes it more difficult to eat fresh and healthy foods that you enjoy. You also may lose out on social plans if you are embarrassed about the way your mouth looks because of missing teeth, or are in pain because of dental infections.

Good oral health is about more than teeth whitening, it affects your physical well being, your mental health and plays a significant role in your overall health. So get brushing, and make that appointment in your nearby dental office in Ottawa now, your future body will thank you for it.

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