The condition of a person’s teeth and gums can indicate underlying health issues. Studies have shown that poor oral health can be a sign of osteoporosis, diabetes, stroke, and heart disease. Many people are unaware that practicing proper oral hygiene not only gives them a beautiful smile but can also have an impact on their overall health and wellness, which is why it’s so important to see a dentist for a checkup and cleaning twice a year.
More Than Just A Smile: How Oral Health Influences Your Overall Wellness
The connection between general health and oral health may not be obvious to everyone, but studies have shown that our oral health can have a major impact on our overall health and wellness.
Poor oral hygiene and a lack of dental care can also lead to:
- Tooth loss
- Oral diseases
- Respiratory diseases
- Premature birth
- Poor quality of life
- Cardiovascular disease
- Oral infections
Unfortunately, if you neglect your oral health, you may be setting yourself up for health conditions in the future.
What Oral Health Looks Like
Proper dental habits involve flossing regularly, brushing your teeth twice a day, and visiting your general dentist one to two times a year. It also involves making healthier choices when it comes to what you eat and drink. However, even if you follow good oral hygiene practices, you should still monitor your teeth for indicators of good oral health, which include:
- Teeth that are strong and functional. Teeth that are healthy and strong can be used to eat and chew comfortably, without pain and discomfort.
- Lack of sensitivity. If you find it painful to chew or your teeth react poorly to hot or cold food and beverages, this can be an indication that your tooth enamel is eroding.
- Good taste in your mouth and fresh breath. If you don’t have a foul taste in your mouth and your breath smells fresh, this can indicate that you’re following a proper oral hygiene routine and keeping bacteria at bay.
- Smooth-feeling teeth. If you run your tongue along the front of your teeth, if they don’t feel gritty or rough, there is no plaque buildup forming. Plaque can have a rough texture and can lead to issues such as dental erosion.
- Your gums don’t bleed and are pink in color. Brushing and flossing your teeth without your gums bleeding and gums that are pink in color are both signs of good oral health. Gums that are uneven, light, or dark can be signs of periodontal disease.
- Natural teeth that are beautiful. Even if you have a great smile, there may still be some underlying dental issues. However, in many cases, healthy teeth will look beautiful, white, and bright.
Oral Health and Physical Wellness
Oral health is linked to general physical health since some oral conditions and diseases can impact other body systems. As an example, lesions and sores that are caused by gum diseases can allow bacteria to enter the bloodstream, spreading the disease. This harmful bacteria can do damage to other areas of the body.
Gum disease can also put you at risk for other debilitating medical conditions, such as diabetes and other chronic conditions. Bacteria that enter the bloodstream can contribute to the buildup of plaque in the arteries, resulting in heart conditions and coronary artery disease.
Good oral health reflects a strong immune system. Additionally, there are some types of cancers that can be detected based on the signs present in the mouth.
Oral Health and Emotional Wellness
There is also a connection between mind and body health. Evidence has shown that people who suffer from mental illness often also have poor oral health.
Some of the most common mental illnesses that can impact a person’s oral health include:
- Eating disorders
- Panic attacks and anxiety
Research has shown that people suffering from mental illness often neglect their oral health, which can lead to tooth decay and gum disease.
Additionally, people with anxiety may suffer from a dental phobia and will stop seeking dental treatment, which can have a major impact on their oral health.
Medication taken for mental illness can produce adverse effects, such as dry mouth, resulting in the reduced flow of saliva.
People who suffer from eating disorders, such as bulimia, can experience dental erosion due to the acidity in vomit.
It’s important to keep in mind that people who suffer from mental illness often do not understand the value of good oral hygiene and need to be motivated to maintain good oral hygiene habits and seek dental care regularly.
Oral Health and Social Wellness
Proper hygiene practices play a major role in our social well-being as well as our physical and emotional health. Dental disease usually affects the way a person sounds and looks, which can result in triggering depression, anxiety, and self-esteem issues and can prevent someone from engaging in social activities.
A child with poor oral hygiene habits can suffer from the psychological effects that carry on into adulthood. Poor oral health in children can also prevent them from participating in education, and social activities, and can impact their ability to socialize with their peers and teachers.
Contact Stuart Curry Dentistry Today to Schedule an Appointment
Proper oral care and regular visits to your dentist are essential to your physical and emotional well-being. A healthy smile can improve your self-esteem, and confidence, and can have a major impact on how you feel about yourself. That’s why the staff at Stuart Curry Dentistry strives to educate our patients on the importance of good oral health habits and how they can impact many aspects of their lives. If you are experiencing pain and discomfort, or you have not been to a regular dental visit for a check-up or cleaning, contact us at Stuart Curry Dentistry. We can create a dental health plan that will address your specific needs and help put you on the right track toward maintaining excellent oral health.