Having a healthy mouth and maintaining proper oral care directly translate to the rest of your body being healthy. Scientists and doctors are learning more and more about this link each year, and it shows that there is a direct correlation between your oral health and your overall health. A mouth that is ridden with gum disease can actually increase your chance of developing major medical problems as you age, including preterm labour, heart attack, stroke, and diabetes.
Conditions That Affect Your Mouth
One of the ways that a dentist in Salford can check on the rest of your overall health is by looking in your mouth. Some major diseases are systemic and affect your whole body. Diabetes is one of these medical problems, and sores in the mouth or other oral problems are one of the first signs that a person is suffering from diabetes. AIDS is another disease that manifests as oral problems before becoming obvious elsewhere.
Using Saliva to Diagnose Medical Problems
It may seem far-fetched, but saliva is actually highly useful in diagnosing some medical problems. Some cancer markers can be found in saliva, and testing for them can help diagnose a patient with cancer. In addition, it’s possible to monitor the progression of osteoporosis in some men and women by testing their saliva for proteins. Being able to use saliva as a test for diabetes, cirrhosis, and even Parkinson’s is not far off in the future.
Saliva as a Protector
Saliva does more than just give a doctor or dentist information about your health. It can actually protect your body against some viruses and bacteria as well. It contains both histatins, which fight against fungus, and antibodies, which attack viral pathogens. Keeping a healthy mouth will ensure that you are producing enough saliva to help keep the rest of your body healthy as well.
Infections Begin in Your Mouth
Plaque builds up quickly along the gums when you don’t floss and brush your teeth. More than just being unsightly, plaque allows bacteria to grow uninhibited in your mouth and between your teeth. Gingivitis can easily lead to periodontitis. When you have a break in your mouth and the bacteria enters your bloodstream, it is transported around your body where it can cause infections in other locations.
Plaque Leads to Illness
In addition to causing you to lose your teeth, plaque that goes untreated can clog arteries and cause blood clots. The inflammation in your mouth is not confined there; rather, it causes inflammation in your whole body, including your arteries and heart. This puts you on a direct path to a heart attack or even a stroke. The worse the condition of the mouth, the greater the risk of cardiovascular disease.
While it is scary to think that the state of your mouth can so directly affect the rest of your health, it’s empowering to know that you can easily improve your overall health by practicing good oral care. Brushing and flossing at home are great habits, but visiting the dentist regularly for checkups and cleanings is highly important. While you are there, your dentist can address any issues with your oral care and ensure that you are as healthy as possible.