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Why your overall health can begin inside your mouth

Brushing and flossing your pearly whites is more important than you think. When you were young, your parents likely taught you to take good care of your teeth. However, as an adult, your busy lifestyle may be hindering your brushing time or how often you floss. According to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, good oral health is fundamental to your overall health and wellbeing. And if you’re not maintaining it, it can compromise your quality of life.

3 ways poor oral health can affect your body

Poor oral health can affect your ability to eat, speak, and socialise, leading to pain, discomfort, and embarrassment. What’s more, studies have shown that over 63,000 Australians are hospitalised each year due to preventable oral conditions such as tooth decay and bacterial problems. So, if you’ve become a bit relaxed about your dental care routine, could you be putting your overall health at risk?

1. If you have abscessed teeth

If you experience a persistent sharp or throbbing toothache, swollen glands under your jaw, or fever, you may have an infected tooth or tooth abscess–a buildup of pus that forms inside the teeth or gums. When an abscess bursts, the infection can travel into your bloodstream. Left untreated, the infection can then cause blood poisoning and in extreme cases can lead to sepsis.

Not only that, but your mouth also leads to your respiratory tract–the very passages that help you breathe. Once the infection reaches your lungs, it can lead to respiratory infections, pneumonia, or acute bronchitis.

2. If you have gum disease

Inflamed, red, or bleeding gums? Sensitive teeth? These symptoms are a warning sign of the early stages of gingivitis which can lead to the more serious type of gum disease–periodontitis. The bacteria growth associated with this disease can infect your bloodstream and cause your arteries to build up plaque and harden. Whilst uncommon, this hardening of the arteries is called atherosclerosis and can lead to blood flow problems and heart blockages. For those with diabetes, The Australian Government concludes that gum disease can affect the control of blood sugar and increase the risk of diabetic complications. 

3. If you grind your teeth

Teeth grinding (otherwise known as bruxism) can cause premature wear and tear on your teeth. This includes tooth cracking and damage to fillings, jaw disorders, neck pain, and in some cases, headaches. Grinding during sleep has also been linked to obstructive sleep apnoea, a disorder whereby your breathing repeatedly stops and starts during sleep, causing high blood pressure, memory problems, and weight gain.

Whilst your oral health can affect your whole body, the reverse is also true. Aside from the impact on your teeth, if you find yourself grinding, consider it a clue to your psychological health. Without you knowing, you may be experiencing emotional stress, such as anger or anxiety. Investigating the cause of your stress and learning ways to manage it with a practice like mediation, may help you stop this nasty habit and save the integrity of your smile. Looking to protect your teeth in the meantime? Talk to your dentist about a customised occlusal splint.

Don’t risk your overall health, contact your local Gosford dentists

The foundation of a healthy mouth and overall health begins with preventative dental care. By being vigilant, maintaining good oral hygiene, and regularly visiting your dentist for check-ups, you can avoid serious risks to your overall health and quality of life. Contact our team at Gosford Family Dentist–our dentists believe prevention is always better than a cure and offer expert advice on how to maintain healthy teeth and gums for optimum health. Contact Gosford Family Dentists.

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