Good oral health is a window to overall health
GEHA | February 28, 2023
The rule to floss once and brush twice a day has been preached since childhood. But oral health is more than just taking care of your teeth. It also includes the gums, throat and jaw. What’s more, problems in the mouth can affect – or provide clues to – the health of the rest of your body.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, some of the most common diseases that impact our oral health include cavities (tooth decay), gum (periodontal) disease and oral cancer. Poor oral health can affect the body and is associated with other chronic diseases such as diabetes and heart disease.
Some health conditions also impact oral health, including:
- Diabetes reduces the body’s resistance to infection, increasing the risk for gum diseases. Studies have also shown that people with gum disease have more difficulty controlling blood sugar levels.
- Osteoporosis treatment can increase tooth loss and weakened bones in the jaw
- Alzheimer's patients often experience a decline in oral health as the disease develops
Changing hormone levels can impact oral health. As hormone levels change at different stages of life, such as during the menstrual cycle, pregnancy or menopause, gums can become swollen and irritated. It is not uncommon for people to experience bleeding gums during pregnancy. Physiological changes during pregnancy attributed to peak levels of estrogen and progesterone may result in pregnancy gingivitis, benign oral lesions, tooth mobility, tooth erosion, dental caries and periodontal diseases. Careful brushing and flossing can reduce bleeding gums and irritation.
Brushing twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste and cleaning between your teeth with floss is the best way to keep your teeth clean and your mouth healthy. Visiting your dentist and following their recommended schedule for professional cleanings is an important step in staying healthy. Check out these tips to help keep your mouth healthy.
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“Oral Health: A Window to Your Overall Health.” mayoclinic.org, Mayo Clinic, 28 October, 2021.
“The Connection Between Oral Health and Overall Health and Well-Being.” ncbi.nlm.nih.gov, National Library of Medicine, 2009.