Oral health and overall physical health go hand in hand. Everything a person takes into their body for nutritional purposes goes through the mouth, which is also the entryway for vital oxygen. A person needs good oral health to be healthy overall.
Today, more people realize how these two areas are interconnected. They understand the importance of seeing a dentist regularly and will make an appointment with an Idaho Falls periodontist or another specialist when needed. Why is it so important to do so?
Gum Disease and Overall Health
Gum disease contributes to many health conditions today. Researchers now know that it plays a role in osteoporosis, rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes, heart disease, and more. In fact, a study conducted at the University of North Carolina School of Dentistry found that gum disease increases a person’s risk of dying from a heart attack or stroke significantly.
People with gum disease must be concerned about endocarditis, an infection that attacks the inner lining of the heart chambers or valves. Germs or bacteria from the mouth move through the bloodstream to the heart, where this infection develops. The risk of premature birth increases in women with periodontal disease, and a person may develop pneumonia when germs from the mouth make their way into the lungs. These are only a few of the ways gum disease can impact overall health.
Social Status and Oral Health
The mouth serves as the most important facial component in communication in Western countries. A person with poor oral health may find it difficult to speak clearly. This can hurt their chances of employment or hold them back from progressing in their careers. They may not be able to move up in other areas of life, either.
For example, a person who cannot advance in their career will find it difficult to buy a larger home or have more children without creating financial difficulties. They may find themselves stuck in the same social class throughout their lifetime as a result of poor oral health.
The poor and socially disadvantaged are more at risk of poor oral health. In fact, according to the World Health Organization, socioeconomic status and the prevalence and severity of oral diseases remain closely linked. This association is seen across all ages and populations regardless of where a person lives.
Self-Image and Oral Health
A person’s self-image also suffers when they have poor oral health. If a person’s smile isn’t attractive, they won’t want to share it with other people. They end up appearing unfriendly and unapproachable.
Furthermore, if a person has missing or failing teeth, they may avoid social situations. They don’t want other people to see their poor oral health and avoid going out to prevent this from happening.
These individuals may become depressed and lonely because of their self-imposed isolation, and this can hurt their mental health. This is one more reason why people need to make oral health a priority. Doing so will make them happier in their daily lives.
Never discount the importance of oral health to overall health. Make regular visits to the dentist a priority, brush your teeth at least twice a day, and floss daily. Small steps make a huge difference in a person’s oral health, so make these changes today. Those who do so see an improvement in both their oral health and their overall health.
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