Modern concepts of beauty generally demand individuals to project a gleaming smile of perfect, white teeth. That expectation causes many people to spend a lot of time and money with their dentists, taking advantaging of innovative treatments such as Invisalign teeth straightening. However, there is a more fundamental reason for everyone to focus on an attractive, healthy smile. Increasingly, medical research shows a wide range of ailments and diseases of the body are caused or encouraged by poor dental hygiene and inadequate oral health.
The Root of the Matter
Ongoing research draws an unassailable correlation between overall wellness and good oral health. The mouth is full of a wide assortment of bacteria, both good and harmful. Most people in the United States today understand the basic goal of good brushing and flossing discipline. That daily ritual is to keep levels of bacteria under control and to prevent permanent damage to the teeth and gums. Otherwise, when bacteria are allowed to accumulate, plaque forms and provides breeding grounds for the harmful bacteria. This destroys enamel and damages gums, creating periodontal disease and other problems in the mouth.
However, beyond that basic knowledge, many people are now being educated by their dentists and doctors that poor oral hygiene can play a role in many other medical problems and diseases. The key danger is that diseased gums often serve as the portal for multiple forms of infection to affect the entire body. Inflammation of the gums serves to provide a path for bacteria to enter the bloodstream and travel to vital organs and other areas.
Some of the major problems now attributed wholly or in part to poor dental health include:
- Heart disease. Endocarditis is an inflammation of the heart's inner lining, or endocardium. This can harm healthy hearts, or aggravate the problems with a damaged heart.
- Respiratory disease. Problems with the lungs, especially in asthmatics, are exacerbated by bacteria coming from gum disease.
- Diabetes. This disease is a problem with maintaining proper sugar levels in the body. Gum disease makes this control more difficult and is a common factor found in those with diabetes.
- Osteoporosis. Periodontal bone loss and loss of teeth has been linked to problems with weak and brittle bones in other parts of the body.
- Rheumatoid arthritis. Many patients with RA face severe problems when they also suffer from gum disease as excess bacteria accumulate in joints and soft tissues.
- Pregnancy. Low birth weight and premature births have been associated with periodontitis.
Numerous other diseases and medical complications, including stroke, clogged arteries, immune disorders, and eating disorders, are associated with poor dental health and periodontitis.
While the goal of an attractive smile is a worthwhile objective, overall wellness and good health is another major reason to visit your dentist or places like Impression Dental on a regular basis.