Good oral health is important to be able to eat and drink comfortably, to speak and smile with confidence, and to be free of pain and discomfort.

The mouth contains millions of bacteria, both good and bad. In the absence of regular mouth care, the number of harmful bacteria multiplies and this can have an effect on the rest of the body. Oral bacteria are the cause of the two most common dental diseases: dental decay and gum disease.

Dental decay, also known as dental caries, is caused by bacteria metabolizing sugar in the mouth, and producing acid that causes cavities in the teeth over time. Dental decay is linked to the frequency of sugar consumption. Gum disease or periodontal disease generally occurs when ineffective tooth brushing or an absence of tooth brushing, leads to a buildup of bacteria in the mouth, commonly known as plaque. Plaque is a white sticky substance that develops on teeth and leads to inflammation of the gums which in turn can affect the underlying bone leading to tooth mobility, tooth loss or receding gums.

Bacteria or toxins produced by bacteria can be absorbed into the bloodstream and travel to other parts of the body.

Oral health and cardiovascular disease

There’s strong evidence linking gum disease and heart disease. Oral bacteria can be absorbed into the bloodstream via inflamed gums and travel to other parts of the body. This may contribute to tiny lots or inflammation in the blood vessels that leads to cardiovascular disease.

Oral health and infective endocarditis

Infective endocarditis may result when bacteria enter the bloodstream of a susceptible individual. For example, somebody with a prosthetic heart valve and colonizes the lining of the heart which can lead to inflammation of the lining of the heart valves. The disease carries a high mortality risk and it’s thought it can be caused by oral bacteria. There’s evidence that good oral hygiene reduces the risk.

Oral health and diabetes

There’s strong evidence of a two-way relationship between oral health and diabetes. Gum disease can lead to poor blood sugar control and poorly controlled diabetes can increase the severity of gum disease. People with diabetes are also at higher risk of developing oral thrush and try mouth.

Oral health and respiratory disease

There’s an increasing amount of evidence linking poor oral care to community and hospital acquired pneumonia. The risk of developing pneumonia is higher in patients who are already compromised. For example, those with dysphasia who are frail or who have a learning disability. Regular and effective mouth care to remove bacterial plaque and oral secretions is recommended as a measure to reduce the risk and severity of pneumonia. Hospital-acquired pneumonia is a very common hospital-acquired infection with high morbidity and mortality rates and extends a hospital admission on average by over a week.

Oral health and other general health conditions

There’s evidence linking poor oral health to a number of other general health conditions, including stroke, dementia, premature birth and some types of cancer. However, as this evidence is not as strong, further research is needed.

Having a comfortable mouth is important for chewing food. Broken teeth, loose teeth or a very dry mouth are common reasons that prevent people eating. It’s important to carry out regular mouth care assessments for people who stop eating and drinking. Care should be taken to prevent denture loss which can have a direct impact on eating.

In summary, supporting people with good mouth care and promoting the importance of good oral health can have a positive impact on their general health and well-being.

Sonic Electric Toothbrush and Cordless Portable Water Flosser can help you to clean your teeth and reduce bacteria. Decayed Teeth Test Paper can test dental decay easily at home by yourself. These can help you reduce oral problems and make your body healthier!

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