Is your overall health connected to your dental hygiene?

As surprising as it seems, many people neglect their oral hygiene, sometimes unknowingly.

In recent years, the importance of floss, mouth wash and even just regular brushing has been pushed by the dental industry, more than ever before.

And the reason why is quite surprising.

Turns out, your oral hygiene directly affects your overall health and well-being. It especially affects your heart! Bacteria in the bloodstream can travel to the heart and lead to a heart attack. Endocarditis – Bacteria may find its way to the inner linings of the heart and valves which in turn, create growth pockets of bacteria. These pockets cause inflammation and infection of the inner linings of the heart.

Your oral hygiene is also linked to diabetes and safer pregnancy, and it has a lot to do with the fact that your gob is filled with bacteria.

Oral hygiene is so important, in fact, that the US went as far as to call the mouth a “mirror” of health and disease in the body in 2000.

But isn’t the bacteria in my mouth harmless?

Good bacteria are needed to sustain homeostasis; the tendency towards a relatively stable equilibrium between interdependent elements, especially as maintained by physiological processes.

But, no, not all of it is good though. Some of the bacteria actually causes some really nasty diseases.

And as your mouth is the opening with which things can enter the rest of your body, poor oral hygiene means you could be sending germs to who knows which part of your fragile system!

Okay, so on the surface, we all know that the germs in our mouths cause oral complications such as gum disease, tooth decay and bad breath.

According to the Colgate Professional, “Researchers are also discovering new reasons to brush and floss. A healthy mouth may help you ward off medical disorders. The flip side? An unhealthy mouth, especially if you have gum disease, may increase your risk of serious health problems such as heart attack, stroke, poorly controlled diabetes and preterm labor”.

Research suggests that severe gum disease could increase the risk of preterm delivery and giving birth to a low birth-weight baby.

Oral bacteria release toxins, which reach the placenta through the mother’s bloodstream.

These toxins are believed to interfere with the growth and development of the fetus. While the oral infection causes the mother to produce labor-triggering. This could occur before the pregnancy has reached its full term, potentially putting both mother and child at risk.

As for the risk of diabetes increasing due to an unhygienic mouth, an infection may cause insulin resistance, which disrupts blood sugar control.

Gingivitis could cause blood clots, and even clog arteries.

So how do you ensure that your mouth is clean and healthy, and in turn, not causing you any external dangers? The best way to stay healthy is brush, floss, and get regular checkups.

Most dental plans in South Africa cover day to day dentistry needs, including teeth cleaning, and screenings for nasty cavities.

Dental cover in South Africa has come a long way, and Affinity Dental is one of the fastest growing dental insurance providers in South Africa.

Affinity Dental’s cover options allow you to choose a plan that best suits your needs, starting from as little as R175 per month.

So spend a little extra time on cleaning your teeth, gums and tongue. Most dentists recommend that you brush twice a day, once in the morning, and just before bed.

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