Better oral health for a long and healthy life

Better oral health for a long and healthy life

Posted by Dr. Daniel A. Nickles on Feb 15 2019, 10:42 PM

Better oral health for a long and healthy life

Did you know that your oral health has a direct impact on your longevity? Oral health affects several other systems of the body and has its influence on heart conditions, diabetes, obesity, lung conditions, arthritis, etc. Dentists are of the opinion that the better your oral health is, the longer and healthier you’re going to live.

Oral health and heart diseases

Several studies that have been carried out over the years strongly prove that gum diseases do have an impact on heart diseases. The periodontitis-causing bacteria and other microbes stand a high chance of moving into the circulatory system and the heart through the blood vessels. This indirectly increases the chances of cardiac arrest.

Oral health and diabetes

The connection between oral health and diabetes is perhaps the most debated one. Gum diseases such as periodontitis and gingivitis seem to weaken the body’s insulin-producing ability. This initiates a hormonal imbalance and also increases the blood sugar level of the body. One can say that gum diseases and diabetes mutually helps each other grow. An increased blood sugar level provides ideal conditions for the gum-disease-causing bacteria to grow, which further worsens the infection.

The auto-immune response

The human body contains several antibodies that help us stay protected from diseases. When an individual contracts an oral disease, the chances of the microbes reaching the other parts of the body through the blood vessels are very high. The antibodies would be alarmed by this development and would initiate an auto-immune response, which causes an inflammation of the blood vessels. This can affect various systems of the body and make the individual fall sick pretty often.

What can I do to avoid these complications?

  • Brush: Though it is something we do every day, a lot of microbes may still get left behind in the mouth. We advise patients to brush their teeth at least twice a day using a soft bristle toothbrush and a fluoride-rich toothpaste. Care should be taken to make sure the ‘difficult-to-reach’ parts of the mouth, such as the anterior teeth, the occlusal grooves, etc. are cleaned well.
  • Floss:  Flossing the teeth is just as important as brushing them. The debris and food residues that stay behind in the mouth, especially in between the teeth, can be removed by flossing, which otherwise would promote the growth of bacteria in the mouth and cause cavities.
  • Limit the intake of sugary foods: Eating a lot of sugary foods, such as pastries, chocolate, aerated drinks, etc. can leave a sugary coat on the teeth. This gives the bacteria something to feed on and multiply in the mouth. Hence, you should avoid consuming a lot of sugary foods, and even if you eat anything sweet, make sure you rinse your mouth with a lot of water to wash it down.
  • Eat a balanced diet:  Make sure your diet comprises of several vitamins and essential nutrients that are must for the body. Poultry, fish, leafy vegetables, cereals, fruits, etc. provide the body with the necessary nutrients. Also, the required calcium intake should be provided, which is by drinking sufficient milk, to strengthen the teeth.

The mouth is the gateway to better overall health, which is why maintaining optimum oral health is of prime importance to living longer and healthier.

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