Oral Health and Its Impact on General Health

Apart from being an integral component in your body’s overall systems, your mouth can often be a barometer of things that are going on elsewhere. It has long been recognized that overall general health and oral health are strongly connected. This is why regular oral examination by your dentist and your own oral hygiene routines are so important.

Oral health and nutrition

One of the most obvious connections between good overall health and wellbeing is, of course, nutrition. Not only do the kinds of foods that we eat have a direct impact on oral health, but when issues arise in the mouth as a result of poor nutrition, the whole body will suffer in the long term. Along with causing damage to the teeth through decay, certain foods will also be doing less obvious damage elsewhere in your body making spotting the oral warning signals all the more important.

A common and widespread disease

Until fairly recently, oral health examinations, preventative measures, and corrective treatments were focused on the teeth and gums alone. This meant that dentists were in some ways working in isolation to treat dental issues rather than utilising the new approach that takes a more holistic view. Despite their ease of detection and treatment, teeth and gum problems are still cited as being among the most common diseases.

Identifying common risk factors

While research continues into the connection between periodontal disease and bacterial disorders in other parts of the body, it is widely accepted that oral health is often a precursor to such conditions. Other more serious conditions including cancers and heart disease share the same common risk factors as oral conditions. Identifying and adopting this approach has led dentists to pay far more attention to the link between oral health and overall health in their patients. In fact, you may have noticed in recent years that some of the first questions your dentist is likely to ask you when you sit in the chair are concerned with your overall health.

So what are the common risk factors?

When it comes down to incorporating oral hygiene with overall health and wellbeing it is important for your dentist to have an understanding of which risk factors are common in both oral issues and other diseases. As already mentioned, heart disease and cancer have the same risk factors as poor oral health and so do diabetes, stroke, and obesity. These risks come from poor nutrition, stress, and lack of exercise, and interestingly enough, poor oral hygiene.

Identification, treatment, and lifestyle changes

Being aware of and identifying what is most likely causing your oral health issues, your dentist is then able to make you aware of the common risk factors and their relation to other types of illness or disease. Tooth decay, in particular, is most commonly linked to excesses of certain foods in the modern diet and these are linked to obesity and diabetes. Lesions in the mouth can be linked to Tobacco and alcohol consumption which are also linked to cancers and heart disease, and the list goes on.

Helping yourself

The good news is that regular oral check-ups are your first line of defence in detecting some of the “tell-tale” signs that often manifest in the mouth. It is worth considering that while most things at the oral end of the equation can be effectively treated, they may be symptomatic indications of poor diet and/or lifestyle. While symptoms such as decay and periodontal diseases can be treated, correct nutrition and regular oral hygiene are key factors in maintaining all round good health.
If you are concerned about how your oral health may be affected by your overall health and wellbeing or visa versa, you should talk to one of the friendly and helpful dentists here at Signal Hill Dental Centre now.