Good oral health affects the rest of the body. Brushing your teeth, for example, can go a long way past just keeping your breath fresh and your gums clean. Taking care of your mouth is a simple thing that can prevent major health problems later on. Learn about the benefits of practicing good oral hygiene.
Symptoms of Disease
The mouth can sometimes show early warning signs of certain diseases and illnesses. Many of these symptoms are difficult or impossible to remove simply by brushing. Sores that line the cheeks or tongue could be signs of a viral or bacterial infection. A filmy, discolored tongue can indicate thrush, a fungal infection.
Dentists are trained to spot these warning signs and will usually refer you to your family doctor or a specialist if they suspect that you problem is indicative of a more serious issue.
There are many cases where a bacterial infection starts in the mouth and spread to the rest of the body. People may falsely assume that a tooth infection stops at the tooth. However, the bacteria in a tooth infection can spread to various organs, such as the brain, ears or heart, and cause severe damage. The symptoms of this infection, such as pain and swelling, appear in the affected area.
According to Mayo Clinic, excessive bacteria in the mouth or gum disease may increase the risk of cardiovascular disease. Poor nutrition is the leading cause of heart disease, and signs of a poor diet start in the mouth. Too much sugar builds up bacteria that cause inflammation and bacterial infections, which could spread to the heart and through the bloodstream.
Compromised Immune System
Poor oral hygiene could reduce the state of your entire immune system. As a result, your body will struggle to fight off common illness such as the flu or bacterial infection. ASEA points out that as many as 50 million Americans suffer from autoimmune disease. Symptoms of auto-immune diseases are diverse and can affect all organs. These can also trigger chronic inflammation which cause significant day to day complications.
Your oral health affects your overall health in more ways than you think. Your mouth is the largest harbor of bacteria. As such, it should be cleaned daily. If you don’t brush for even a few weeks, you may notice the early signs of infection. Take brushing seriously and brush to do more than protect your teeth and gums. Remember, good health is about treating the whole, not just addressing symptoms after something has gone wrong.