There are more than 7.8 billion people in the world. Do you know that about half of that—3.5 million—suffer from oral diseases caused by bad dental habits and lack of dental guidance? Dental and oral health isn’t just about you. It’s not about your fear of the dentists or the fact that you’re okay with a decaying tooth that smells like you haven’t brushed your teeth in a year. Dental health is about your family. It’s about what you can push them to go through once you develop diseases and other medical conditions because of bad dental hygiene.
It all boils down to people not knowing what a healthy mouth is and even how to achieve it. Your mouth is home to some 700 different types of bacteria. Each time you eat, you add something to that colony of bacteria inside your mouth. That’s why it’s best for the world to never stop wearing face masks. Can you imagine how much germs and bacteria escape from people when they sneeze without covering their mouths?
Your body has a natural defense against these bacteria in your mouth. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take care of your oral health. You should still brush your teeth two to three times a day, floss once a day, eat nutritious food, and avoid snacking on sweets. These are the tenets of maintaining good oral hygiene.
But good dental hygiene is not just about getting a teeth whitening procedure and making sure your pearly whites are, well, white. It’s about ensuring that your neglect will not lead to life-long medical conditions. It’s about understanding that dental and physical health are forever connected.
People often associate diabetes with eating too many sweets. While that is also true, the fact remains that gum disease can also be an indication of diabetes. Don’t think that it’s a “simple thing” you can shrug off for tomorrow or next week. For all you know, your glucose levels are too high that it’s infecting your gums and teeth. In 2011, a study found that dentists can identify their patients with diabetes 73% of the time. That’s just by looking at their teeth and gums.
Periodontal disease, or an infection of the gum, increases the risk of heart attack and stroke in people. There are several theories as to why this happens. Some said that periodontal diseases cause inflammation, which then becomes a risk factor for heart disease. Other times, the reason is the bacteria from the mouth travels into the bloodstream and contribute to plaque buildup.
That is the case with endocarditis, which is the inflammation of the lining of the heart valve. The bacteria from the mouth travels down to the heart. People already with heart problems often suffer the most from this.
Nowadays, having respiratory problems is a major cause for concern. Imagine waking up and having a hard time breathing. Maybe you are having an asthma attack, or maybe it’s COVID-19. That’s why you have to eliminate all the risks that put you on the path of a respiratory illness. Bacteria in your mouth can somehow find its ways into your lungs.
This can cause pneumonia and other respiratory conditions. The risk is higher for those with compromised immune systems already such as emphysema and other lung conditions. People with no underlying conditions may still develop some when bacterial enters their lungs.
Dental and oral problems are contributing factors to stress. You feel stressed because you have to go to the dentist even though you’ve always been afraid to go to one. You may also feel pressured because of the cost of dental procedures. All of these would not have happened if you did one thing: check with your dentist regularly. The dentist would have told you what you need to do to prevent tooth decay, gum disease, and other dental problems that could have been easily prevented.
Be Honest With Your Dentist
A lot of people don’t think much about how their dental health will affect their overall health and well-being. As a result, they are dishonest with dentists about their medical history and the medications they are taking. Don’t take this route. If you’re taking medications for breast or prostate cancer or osteoporosis, you cannot undergo extraction because the bone may not heal properly.
You have to educate yourself about the importance of dental health. It’s about time people realize why going to the dentist is as important as having their annual physical examination. A long and healthy life also depends on how well you take care of your oral health.