How Dental Health Connects to Overall Health
The body is made up of many parts, all of them individual but connected to each other; tissues are part of systems and the whole body works holistically. Dentists understand more than most how the mouth acts as a gateway to the body and how taking care of your teeth protects your general health.
Research has proven how infections like periodontal disease can affect other parts of the body in surprising ways. Dr. Stephen Okamoto takes care of each patient’s smiles with the whole body in mind. This blog offers tips, information, and wisdom in how to protect your body by caring for your teeth.
How Oral Health Affects the Body
Blood flows into our oral systems through the carotid artery, which branches out and ends in our jaw. The arteries provide nutrients and oxygen to our gums, lips, and teeth, but their proximity to oral structures makes them vulnerable. This is especially true if a person smokes, chews tobacco, and neglects proper oral health care. Bacteria thrive off debris that gets trapped between our teeth and in below the gum line. Brushing and flossing break up this bacteria and stop the advance of plaque across our teeth and beneath the gums.
But gum disease thrives if left alone and advances to cause more problematic signs of infection. Early stages of periodontitis are the reason our gums bleed or become sensitive, while progressed infection is the reason people lose teeth. It is also how bacteria enter the bloodstream from our mouths. Gum disease has been tied to diabetes, heart disease, arterial infection, weight gain, bad breath, and numerous other health effects.
Proper Oral Care for Holistic Well-Being
An easy step to better wellness is getting in the habit of regular brushing and flossing. Brush at least twice a day for two minutes, and floss once a day. Toothbrushes should be held at a 45 degree angle, and gently moved in small circles around the mouth. Floss, and it doesn’t matter if you use sticks or wax floss, should be moved gently between the teeth and gums. After some time, it gets easier and easier to do so.
Avoiding frequent intake of these items will protect oral health and whole body health as well:
- Tobacco (including E-cigarettes, chewing products, and cigars)
- Excessive processed sugar
- Alcohol (causes swelling and bacterial growth)
- Sugary gum
Please contact our dental office for any oral health concerns you may have; we’re happy to help with any questions. Browse our website for information and procedures, and feel free to schedule an appointment!