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Oral Hygiene & Your Health

Published on November 22nd, 2016

Oral hygiene and your overall health are intimately linked. The state of your oral health is often a big determinant in your overall health. Problems with your mouth can affect the rest of your body or at least provide clues as to how the rest of your body is doing. A healthy mouth can help you fend off disease, while an unhealthy mouth can increase your risk of illness.

Signs & Symptoms of Illness

Your mouth displays many of the signs and symptoms of illnesses when you get sick. The vast majority of systemic diseases show oral symptoms. Infections may also produce signs and symptoms visible in your mouth. Your saliva is also very telling. Your saliva can be tested to see whether it contains bacteria or viruses that cause disease. It can also be tested for certain hormones, toxins, and antibodies that may be indicative of diseases like HIV or diabetes.

Plaque’s Role in Overall Health

Gum infections can provide a direct pathway to your bloodstream for certain bacteria and viruses that may enter your mouth. Without regular brushing and flossing, plaque can build on your teeth and create an environment where bacteria thrive. This can also cause your gums to bleed and offer entry to foreign microbes. Plaque and the gum problems that arise from it can also be indicative other issues. Diabetes, cardiovascular disease, or preterm birth for pregnant women all correlate with inflammation of the mouth and gums.

Prevent Health Problems With Good Oral Hygiene

Although not a foolproof method, good oral hygiene can be a great way of keeping you generally healthy. Brushing, flossing, and visiting your dentist regularly are all ways of keeping your mouth healthy. A good rule of thumb is to brush twice a day, floss at least once per day, and see you dentist about every six months or so.

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