One reasonably reliable indicator of better dental health outcomes is maintaining good oral hygiene. This means that if you practice good oral hygiene habits, you are more likely to maintain your teeth as you age. Good oral hygiene habits can improve your overall health because dental health can affect physical well-being in general.
A Healthy Salivary Flow
Saliva is a helpful diagnostic tool, in that it can help doctors and dentists to identify and diagnose systemic diseases before their symptoms become apparent.
In addition, saliva can help disable bacteria and viruses before they enter your system. Saliva is one of your body’s main defences against disease-causing organisms.
Viruses like the common cold and even HIV are attacked by antibodies found in saliva. It also has enzymes that kill bacteria in a variety of ways, including by deteriorating bacterial membranes, upsetting crucial bacterial enzyme systems, and stopping some bacteria's growth and metabolism.
Keeping your salivary flow healthy is quite easy for most people. The key is to stay hydrated! Make sure you drink plenty of water throughout the day to maintain a healthy salivary flow.
Dental Plaque & Infection
Your mouth houses over 500 species of bacteria that are constantly forming dental plaque, a sticky, colourless film that clings to your teeth and causes a variety of health problems.
Regularly and thoroughly brushing and flossing your teeth will prevent dental plaque from accumulating between your gums and teeth, which will eventually cause gingivitis, a gum infection. Gingivitis can progress into periodontitis (also known as gum disease), a more serious infection, if it is not treated.
If you have periodontitis, simply undergoing a dental treatment or just brushing your teeth can provide a port of entry for the abundant bacteria in your mouth to enter your bloodstream.
If your immune system is functioning properly, oral bacteria in your bloodstream won't cause any issues. But if it has been compromised, like by illness or cancer treatment, oral bacteria in your bloodstream could lead to an infection in another area of your body.
Infective endocarditis, which is when oral bacteria enter the bloodstream and stick to the lining of diseased heart valves, is an example of this.
Dental Plaque’s Link to Common Conditions
Having a healthy mouth may help you ward off certain diseases and medical problems such as stroke, heart attack, complications related to diabetes, and even pre-term labour.
Poorly Controlled Diabetes
Chronic gum disease may make diabetes more difficult to control. The infection may cause insulin resistance, which can disrupt blood sugar control.
Gingivitis may contribute to clogged arteries and blood clots because bacteria in the mouth can lead to inflammation throughout the body, including the arteries.
Additionally, plaque buildup in the carotid artery may be influenced by gum disease and tooth loss.