Oral Health Linked to Overall Health
We say that the eyes are the windows to the soul. Considering this, most would say that if you really want to read between the lines, looking straight in the eyes of the person speaking to or with you will reveal if the other person is hiding anything. The same is true with our mouth. A number of research conducted links a person’s oral health to his or her overall health. Even by just directly observing people as they interact with other, you will observe the connection between these two.
A healthy mouth will not only allow nourishment to the body, but it also boosts the self-esteem. Thus, the higher the self-esteem, the better interaction with others. It signals if there is any disorder in the body. The mouth, as well as the face, are quite responsive to and able to display any disruption within. It is where the main entry into the body is located and is also designed with remarkable structures used to sense its environment as well as in defending the body against toxins or any pathogens or any infectious agent that can disturb the normal structure of the body. In certain cases, like when the oral tissues is not able to function optimally, it can become a source of infection or pathological processes that will eventually affect other parts of the body, and, later on, passed on to others.
Reasons as mentioned has alarmed health practitioners making the last 5 to 10 years a period where the nation had seen headlines revealing interest from different sectors in the society investigating on the possible links between mouth health and body health.
According to Cram, DDS, PC, consumer advisor for the American Dental Association, health practitioners have taken a more holistic approach in accessing their patients’ overall health. This is in response to the increasing number of studies that lay out the interconnection of the two-mouth and overall wellness. One of the recent studies referred to reveal that people with serious periodontal (gum) disease were 40% more likely to exhibit chronic conditions.
There are two major disorders that affect the teeth, decay or caries as well as gum disease. Note that the mouth is the breeding ground of bacteria. These microorganisms utilize the sugar in food that we take in and change it acids. As time pass by, these acids will attack the teeth, which results in tooth decay and cavities. These microorganisms, along with the mucus and other particles in the oral cavity continuously form plaques on the teeth. With proper oral hygiene, one can keep the mouth from keeping plaques untreated. However, if there are plaques that are not thoroughly removed from in between or on the teeth, they will contribute to the formation of tartar, which cannot be removed by brushing alone. A visit to the doctor for prophylactic treatment is the only way to have that tartar completely removed from the teeth.
The longer you keep your teeth from getting the appropriate hygiene it needs, the more destructive these plaque and tartar become. Later, it will result to decaying teeth, which again, if not properly treated may require the affected tooth to be extracted should the decay will not be treated right away.
Another oral problem that may lead to other health problems is gingivitis. This results from the inflammation of the gums, and is discernible with red, swollen gums that bleeds easily when something gets in contact with them. This, however, is a mild type of gum disease and can be treated with proper hygiene. Daily brushing, flossing, as well as regular visits to the dentist for scheduled prophylactic treatment will eventually revert the condition.
Untreated gum disease can later cause “periodontitis.” This oral disorder is characterized by the inflammation around the teeth, which may eventually result to a loss of the bone or tissue that hold the teeth in place.
When one is diagnosed with periodontitis, he or she may observe the gums pulling away from the teeth and form spaces or “pockets.” These spaces are seen to be infected. As the infection develops and spreads below the gum line, the immune system fights them. The tug between bacterial toxin and the body’s natural response to infection results to the collapse of the connective tissues that hold the teeth in place.
In time, the bones, gums, as well as the tissue that support the teeth may be damaged. The teeth may also become loose, which will later need to be extracted.
The World Health Organization states that 70 percent of tooth loss is caused by tooth decay, 20 percent results from periodontal diseases, and 10 percent is caused by other factors. In some countries, dental problems are listed to be the fourth most expensive disorders that needs to be treated.
Of these, periodontal disease is one of the most common diseases, and if not treated properly may result to even serious and damaging recurring infection, and, as studies have proven, may trigger other diseases in the other systems of the body.
Oral health affects one’s physical as well as psychological state, effects how a person develops, his perception of satisfaction. It affects how one looks, speaks, and socialize, as well as one’s total well-being.
Considering all these observed as well as medical facts prove, we cannot deny the fact that oral health of an individual has a direct connection to his or her overall health. As such the quality of one’s oral health should be given adequate attention. It is vital that the oral cavity is kept from the damaging effects of decay as well as periodontal disease. Early detection as well as prevention of these conditions should be given prime importance.
As relayed, a link to oral health and general health is established, indicating that:
- Poor oral health is significantly associated with major chronic diseases disability.
- Poor oral health causes disability.
- Both oral health concerns as well as major diseases have common risk influences.
- Overall health problems may also cause or worsen one’s oral health condition.