OVERALL HEALTH

General Health and Oral Health

There is a close relationship between your general health and your oral health. Research shows that bad oral health is related to diabetes, complication during pregnancy and even heart diseases. To protect you from these health issues, the dental team at your local NoFrills Dental practice will work to ensure that you have good oral health.

Healthy Body and Mouth

Good oral care prevents tooth decay, gum disease and bad breath. If there is something wrong in the body it is likely to be revealed through the mouth. For instance a disease like diabetes manifests itself through mouth sores or various oral issues.

The mouth consists of many bacteria. Some bacteria are harmful while others are not. Harmful bacteria cause periodontal disease and tooth decay. Periodontal disease is linked to stroke, diabetes and heart disease. However the exact link is unknown.

What you need to know about periodontal disease

Plaque is a sticky bacterial coating that keeps accumulating on the surface of teeth. Plaque contains bacteria which causes periodontal disease. These bacteria causes gum irritation and inflammation and gums may swell, become red and bleed. This stage of gum disease is known as gingivitis. Gingivitis can be treated by brushing two times every day, flossing once a day and regularly having teeth professionally cleaned to remove plaque.

If left untreated, gingivitis worsens and becomes periodontitis. Periodontitis affects spaces between the gums and teeth. This condition is normally painless but very severe because it damages supporting gum and bone tissue. The disease can lead to total loss of bone structure. If left untreated, periodontitis can cause tooth loss. 

Visit your dentist whenever you experience any of the following symptoms:

  • Bleeding gums when you brush or floss
  • Gum swelling, redness or soreness
  • Gum withdrawal from teeth
  • Persistent bad breath
  • White discharge between gums and teeth
  • Teeth becoming loose or getting separated
  • Change in how your teeth come together when biting or chewing
  • Change in partial denture fitting

Relationship between the mouth and the body

Diseases such as blood cell disorders, diabetes, HIV and AIDS lower the body’s ability to fight and resist infections. These diseases increase the risk and severity of periodontal disease. Heart attack, stroke and blocked arteries have been linked to increased inflammation in patients suffering from periodontitis. It is common for diabetic patients to also suffer from periodontal disease. Additionally periodontitis is more severe for diabetics compared to non-diabetics.

Even though there is a connection between periodontitis and the aforementioned health issues, this connection does not imply that periodontitis causes these health issues or the other way round. However it has been established that patients with diabetes and tobacco smokers are more likely to develop periodontal disease. Research is still ongoing to establish the effect of treating periodontitis in patients suffering from these other diseases.

Effects of Periodontal Disease

Healthy Gums. Teeth are held firmly in place by the gums, bone and periodontal ligament  diagram of a healthy tooth with no tooth decay
Teeth are held firmly in place by the gums, bone and periodontal ligament. Gums hug the teeth tightly. There is little or no buildup of plaque and tartar.
teeth with periodontis on the gum line and bone diagram of teeth with periodontis
In time, as plaque and tartar build up along the gum line, plaque bacteria break down the soft tissues that support the tooth. As the disease progresses, bacteria attack the bone tissue also.

Recommendation
Oral care is important to ensure that your gums and teeth are healthy all the time. Here are tips to help you keep your mouth healthy:

  • Brush two times daily and floss or use an alternative in between teeth cleaner once daily. It is recommended that you also use an antimicrobial mouthwash daily.
  • Use products that has been approved for sale by your local healthcare authority and deemed as safe to use
  • Visit your dentist regularly for dental check-ups and professional cleanings. Tartar which traps plaque bacteria can only be removed through professional cleaning.
  • Let your dentist know if you are using any medication (both prescription and over-the-counter) and also if you notice any health changes.
  • Avoid any tobacco products. Tobacco users are advised to speak to their dentist and ways to quit.
  • Control dry mouth. Mouth dryness can cause periodontal disease and tooth decay. Several medications have dry mouth as a side effect. Your dentist can recommend ways of managing dry mouth.

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