We all know we should brush, floss and attend regular check-ups to ensure our teeth stay healthy, but did you know the health of your mouth is actually closely tied to the health of your entire body?
The links between gum disease and heart disease
Recent studies have found that people who suffer from moderate gum disease have a much higher risk of developing heart disease. The inflammation gum disease causes can enter your bloodstream and result in plaque developing on the inner walls of your arteries; this of course increases your risk of suffering a heart attack or stroke. It’s even possible for it to enter the inner lining of the heart and cause infection and inflammation, which can cause a condition known as endocarditis. Of course, gum disease also has an effect on your oral health, and puts you at risk of losing teeth if it’s not properly addressed.
More often than not gum inflammation (also known as gingivitis) is simply caused by not brushing and flossing your teeth properly. Provided it’s not too advanced, it can be easily reversed by brushing and flossing, and attending regular cleanings by your dentist. More advanced gum disease, or periodontitis, while not curable, can be managed.
To put it simply, by brushing and flossing daily and attending a regular check-up, you could dramatically reduce your chances of suffering from heart disease, as well as helping you to keep your natural teeth as long as possible.
The magic of saliva
We know what you’re thinking; surely the words saliva and magic don’t belong in the same sentence! While we know it certainly doesn’t look or sound magical, our spit actually plays a really important and under-acknowledge role in the health of our entire body.
Without saliva, your food would be very hard to swallow, but did you know it’s also one of your body’s main lines of defence against nasty bacteria and viruses? And yes, this includes the bacteria which cause gum disease.
Most foods are slightly acidic, and some (such as sugar) are highly acidic. After you eat, your saliva gets to work bringing your mouth back to a neutral pH, and trying to stop the nasty bacteria which can cause cavities and inflammation. Of course, it can’t fix everything though; that’s where brushing and flossing gives your body’s natural defences a nice little helping hand.
A word of warning though; while you might think that brushing straight after eating something acidic will help to stop the bacteria attacking your teeth, that’s actually not the case! Acids cause the enamel on our teeth to soften, so if you brush straight away, you risk brushing away the enamel which helps protect your teeth further. It’s best to wait half an hour after eating to allow your saliva to do its important job and for the enamel to re-harden, and then brush.
Keeping yourself and your mouth healthy
A study undertaken by the Academy of General Dentistry concluded that up to 90% of systematic diseases in the human body will have symptoms which present in your mouth. The heart disease link we’re discussed above really only scratches the surface!
Other conditions which have been linked to your oral health include, but are not limited to:
- Problems in pregnancy
But by looking after your oral health, you could seriously reduce your risks of these diseases, and more. We think that sounds very worthwhile!
The White Bite – looking after your oral and overall health
At The White Bite, we are passionate about helping our patients to achieve the best possible oral and overall health. If you would like to request an appointment to let us help you keep your health the best it can be, contact us today!