Sunday, May 1, 2016

Oral health: A window to your overall health

Taking care of your oral health is an investment in your overall health. Did you know that your oral health offers clues about your overall health — or that problems in your mouth can affect the rest of your body?


What's the connection between oral health and overall health?


Your oral health might contribute to various diseases and conditions, including:[1]
  • Endocarditis
    • Endocarditis is an infection of the inner lining of your heart (endocardium). Endocarditis typically occurs when bacteria or other germs from another part of your body, such as your mouth, spread through your bloodstream and attach to damaged areas in your heart.
  • Cardiovascular disease
    • Some research suggests that heart disease, clogged arteries and stroke might be linked to the inflammation and infections that oral bacteria can cause.
  • Pregnancy and birth
    • Periodontitis has been linked to premature birth and low birth weight.
  • Diabetes
    • Research shows that people who have gum disease have a harder time controlling their blood sugar levels, and that regular periodontal care can improve diabetes control.

Certain conditions also might affect your oral health, including:
  • Diabetes
    • Diabetes reduces the body's resistance to infection — putting the gums at risk. 
      • Gum disease appears to be more frequent and severe among people who have diabetes. 
  • HIV / AIDS
    • Oral problems, such as painful mucosal lesions, are common in people who have HIV/AIDS.
  • Osteoporosis
    • Osteoporosis — which causes bones to become weak and brittle — might be linked with periodontal bone loss and tooth loss. Drugs used to treat osteoporosis carry a small risk of damage to the bones of the jaw.
  • Alzheimer's disease
Other conditions that might be linked to oral health include eating disordersrheumatoid arthritishead and neck cancers, and Sjogren's syndrome — an immune system disorder that causes dry mouth.

Because of these potential links, tell your dentist if you're taking any medications or have had any changes in your overall health — especially if you've had any recent illnesses or you have a chronic condition, such as diabetes.


Warning Signs


Contact your dentist and/or physician as soon as any below oral health problem arises.

Bad Breadth[5-7] Bad breath is the result of poor mouth care, a weak immune system, stress, gastrointestinal infections, liver or kidney disorder, blocked sinuses, or badly fitted fillings (where food can get lodged between the filling and tooth).
  • The best way to check is to lick your wrist. Start with the back of your tongue and move it forward across your wrist. Leave the saliva to dry for ten seconds on your wrist. Then smell this area for any unpleasant odors
  • An easier way: ask a trusted friend or family member
Excessive Thirst[8] An indication of possible diabetes, internal bleeding, severe infection, or a failure of the heart, liver, or kidneys.
Lump or ulcer Oral Cancer
  • Look for are persistent white patches, or sore red areas on the tongue that fail to heal within three weeks.
Bleeding and inflamed gums
  • Gum disease or gingivitis
  • Diabetes, anemia and vitamin C deficiency
Purple Tongue Tip[9] Poor blood circulation due to elevation of plasma viscosity
  • Stick out your tongue and check if it's purple color or with purple spots on the tip.


How can I protect my oral health?


To protect your oral health, do the followings :
  • Proper Oral hygiene 
    • Like many areas of the body, your mouth is teeming with bacteria — most of them harmless. Normally the body's natural defenses and good oral health care can keep these bacteria under control.  
    • Daily oral health care should include:
      • Brush your teeth at least twice a day with fluoride toothpaste
      • Floss daily
      • Oil pulling [3]
  • Healthy Foods
    • Eat a healthy diet and limit between-meal snacks
  • Maintain Good Saliva Flow
    • Saliva washes away food and neutralizes acids produced by bacteria in the mouth, helping to protect you from microbial invasion or overgrowth that might lead to disease.
      • Certain medications — such as decongestants, antihistamines, painkillers, diuretics and antidepressants — can reduce saliva flow. 
  • Other Considerations
    • Avoid tobacco use
    • Replace your toothbrush every three to four months or sooner if bristles are frayed
    • Schedule regular dental checkups and cleanings

References

  1. Oral health: A window to your overall health (Mayo Clinic)
  2. Don't Ignore Your Body's Warning Signs
  3. Oil Pulling for Your Oral Health—Why and How?
  4. Esophageal Cancer Risk and Alcohol Flush Reaction
  5. Four do-it-yourself health checks
  6. What Your Breath Reveals
  7. What About Plain Old Bad Breath?
  8. Watch Out for These Warning Signs
  9. 在 家做体检
  10. Health Effects of Element Fluorine (F) (Travel to Health)