Good oral hygiene is crucial for preventing dental decay and gum disease, as well as promoting overall health and well-being. Our dentists in Ottawa emphasize the importance of a healthy mouth for your entire body.
Practicing good oral hygiene is one reasonably reliable predictor of better dental health outcomes. This means you are more likely to keep your teeth as you age if you have good oral hygiene habits. Because dental health can impact overall physical well-being, good oral hygiene practices can have a positive impact on your overall health.
A Healthy Salivary Flow
Saliva is a valuable tool for doctors and dentists to detect and diagnose diseases before symptoms appear. It can also prevent harmful bacteria and viruses from entering your body. Saliva acts as a defense mechanism against disease-causing organisms.
Saliva contains antibodies that fight against viruses like the common cold and HIV. It also has enzymes that destroy bacteria in different ways, such as breaking down bacterial membranes, disrupting crucial enzyme systems, and inhibiting the growth and metabolism of bacteria.
Maintaining a healthy flow of saliva is easy for most people. The key is to stay hydrated by drinking enough water throughout the day. This helps ensure a healthy salivary flow.
Dental Plaque & Infection
Your mouth is home to more than 500 types of bacteria that continuously create dental plaque. This is a sticky, transparent layer that attaches to your teeth and can lead to various health issues.
Neglecting regular and thorough brushing and flossing allows dental plaque to accumulate between your gums and teeth, resulting in a gum infection known as gingivitis. If left untreated, gingivitis can progress to a more severe infection called periodontitis or gum disease.
When you have periodontitis, simple dental treatments or brushing alone can provide an entry point for the numerous bacteria in your mouth to enter your bloodstream.
If your immune system is strong and healthy, the presence of oral bacteria in your bloodstream won't cause any problems. However, if your immune system is weakened due to illness or cancer treatment, oral bacteria in your bloodstream can cause infections in other parts of your body.
One example of this is infective endocarditis, which occurs when oral bacteria enter the bloodstream and attach to the lining of damaged heart valves.
Dental Plaque Link to Common Conditions
Maintaining good oral health can potentially prevent various illnesses and health issues such as stroke, heart attack, diabetes-related complications, and even premature labor.
Poorly Controlled Diabetes
Chronic gum disease can complicate diabetes management by making it harder to control. The infection can lead to insulin resistance, interfering with the regulation of blood sugar levels.
Bacteria in your mouth can lead to inflammation in your whole body, including your arteries. This means that gingivitis may contribute to blocked arteries and blood clots.
Furthermore, gum disease and tooth loss can increase the chances of plaque formation in the carotid artery.