Posted January 30, 2017
The condition of your mouth can affect the health of your body. If you take care of your teeth and gums, you can lower the risk of developing serious medical problems.
20 billion oral bacteria
Your mouth contains 20 billion bacteria that reproduce every five hours. Many bacteria protect your teeth and gums, and assist with the digestion of foods. However, other harmful bacteria can damage your oral health by causing tooth decay and gum disease. Saliva naturally helps remove food particles and acids where the bad bacteria thrive, but if you have problems with dry mouth, it’s more difficult to keep the bad bacteria under control.
Oral health problems
Mayo Clinic has identified several health issues that can develop as a result of poor oral health. Here are six common conditions:
- Heart infection – Endocarditis occurs when bacteria and germs from the mouth, and other areas of the body, enter the lining of the heart and cause an infection.
- Heart disease – Research has identified a possible link between inflammation caused by oral bacteria and infections that could lead to heart disease, clogged arteries or stroke.
- Diabetes – Medical professionals have determined that gum disease is more prevalent, and often more severe, in people with diabetes. It reduces their ability to fight infections and control blood sugar levels, providing a rich environment for oral bacteria to develop.
- Alzheimer’s – Researchers believe that people who lose a tooth before age 35 may be at greater risk for developing this disease.
- HIV/AIDS – People with HIV/AIDS often have an unhealthy immune system, leaving them at risk for developing several oral problems, such as fever blisters, thrush, ulcers or canker sores, warts or tooth decay.
- Preterm birth – Expectant moms who don’t brush and floss their teeth may develop periodontitis (gum disease), putting them at increased risk for premature birth.
- Brushing twice daily, after breakfast and at bedtime
- Flossing each day
- Using a non-alcoholic mouth rinse to remove food and plaque particles
- Eating a nutritious diet with a good mix of vegetables, fruits, dairy and lean meats, and limiting sugary snacks and beverages
- Scheduling professional cleanings, as directed by your dentist
- Stopping smoking