Many Canadians appreciate the importance of maintaining good oral health. In 2019, nearly three-quarters of Canadians saw a dental professional within the past year. Almost two-thirds of the population also had dental insurance, which helped with the costs.
Aside from caring for one’s teeth, however, most of us often don’t realize how important oral health is when it comes to our overall health. You need to remember that your body is made up of systems, and they all work together to keep us healthy.
Most people see their dentists as someone who only cares about reminding people of their brushing and flossing habits. In reality, a dentist’s work doesn’t stop there. They are actually crucial to maintaining our overall health, which is why it’s best to find a dentist in Hamilton to help you do just that.
Oral Health As A Link To Other Diseases
Did you know that aside from causing oral problems like cavities, gum disease, and oral cancer, poor oral health can cause or exacerbate other health conditions? Regular checkups with your dentist can help stop the onset of these problems and even prevent them from getting worse. Here are some examples of the conditions you may be exposing yourself to with poor oral health:
- Cardiovascular disease. Although not a direct cause, researchers have found links between poor oral health and heart disease. Dental health issues and dental bacteria can travel in the bloodstream, which could reach and affect the heart valves. This could be especially risky for those with artificial heart valves.
- Endocarditis. This condition is the inflammation of the inner lining of your heart’s valves or chambers (endocardium). This occurs when bacteria from other parts of the body (including the mouth) enter the bloodstream and attach to some parts of the heart. If left untreated, endocarditis could be life-threatening.
- Pneumonia. Our mouths are often full of bacteria, both good and bad. However, if one has poor oral hygiene, some of these bacteria could drip into the lungs, causing respiratory diseases like pneumonia. Older populations are particularly at risk, especially if they’re experiencing medication side effects and other comorbidities.
- Pregnancy/Birth Complications. Some women experience gingivitis during pregnancy, which could become full-on periodontitis (severe gum infection) if left untreated. This can bring about serious problems since there have been observations of premature births and low birth weights linked to periodontitis.
Conditions That May Affect Your Oral Health
On the flip-side, there are certain existing conditions or diseases that could cause or exacerbate poor oral health. Your dentist can help identify your dental problems and alert you to possible changes in your overall health.
Below are some conditions that can lead to poor or worsening oral health:
- Alzheimer’s disease. Many sufferers of Alzheimer’s disease often end up with poor oral health. This is often due to the inability to perform self-care and oral health routines, such as wearing dentures and cleaning one’s teeth.
- Diabetes. People with diabetes may have xerostomia, or dry mouth, due to high and/or irregular blood sugar levels. These conditions allow for dental plaque buildup, which could cause cavities and other problems.
- HIV/AIDS. People living with HIV/AIDS have weakened immune systems, which will also affect their oral health. This can manifest in thrush, dry mouth, canker sores, mouth ulcers, and many more.
- Osteoporosis. This bone-weakening disease affects all bones in the body, including one’s jawbones. Weak jawbones can result in tooth loss and periodontal disease.
Visit A Dentist Today
Dental care is essential to your overall health. Visits to the dentist might not always be fun, but they are there to help. Aside from giving you cosmetic improvements, regular dental checkups help you address problems as they arise, reducing the risk of health complications down the line.