Did you know:  Mouth and body are integral to each other? Health of your mouth plays a vital role in your overall health? Oral health shares common risk factors with other chronic diseases?

Well its time to know : 

Your mouth is a window into what's going on in the rest of your body, often serving as a helpful vantage point for detecting the early signs and symptoms of general body diseases.

In fact, according to the Academy of General Dentistry, more than 90 percent of all systemic conditions produce oral signs and symptoms.

For example, 

  • mouth lesions may be the first signs of HIV infection, 
  • aphthous ulcers are occasionally a manifestation of Coeliac disease or Crohn’s disease, 
  • pale and bleeding gums can be a marker for blood disorders
  • Swollen, red, tender or bleeding gums and visible pus surrounding the teeth and gums may indicate poor diabetic control
  • bone loss in the lower jaw can be an early indicator of skeletal osteoporosis, 
  • changes in tooth appearance can indicate bulimia or anorexia like eating disorders, 
  • dry mouth caused by rheumatoid arthritis, head and neck cancers, and Sjogren's syndrome — an immune system disorder. 

Several such systemic conditions and their treatments are also known to impact on oral health (e.g., reduced saliva flow, altered  balance of oral microorganisms).

The presence of many compounds (e.g., alcohol, nicotine, opiates, drugs, hormones, environmental toxins, antibodies) in the body can also be detected in the saliva.

How does poor oral health impact on overall health and disease?

A scientific evidence has backed-up the fact that bacteria from the mouth can cause infection in other parts of the body when the immune system has been compromised by systemic diseases or medical treatments (e.g., poorly controlled diabetes, infective endocarditis). 

A decayed/infected tooth may serve as a "focus of infection" in an unhealthy mouth increasing the risk of various systemic conditions. 

When you don't brush and floss regularly to keep your teeth and gums clean, plaque bacteria can build up along your gumline causing gingivitis which may progress to affect the bone surrounding  your teeth causing periodontitis. This may in turn cause worsening of several diseases viz. 

  • Heart Disease
  • Strokes
  • Diabetes
  • Giving birth to a premature or low-birth-weight baby(preterm labour)
  • Respiratory (lung) disease.
  • Osteoporosis
  • Alziemers disease causing memory loss
Mouth -Body connection
While the evidence is mounting that the systemic health is closely linked to the state of the oral cavity and the poor oral hygiene may increase the risk for various diseases, it is important to keep in mind the following 6 ways which will not only boost your overall health but will also keep you mental well-being under the check.
  • Boosts Your Self-esteem and Confidence

Decayed teeth and gum diseases are often associated not only with an unsightly mouth but very bad breath - so bad it can affect your confidence, self-image, and self-esteem. With a healthy mouth that's free of gum diseases and cavities, your quality of life is also bound to be better -- you can eat properly, sleep better, and concentrate with no aching teeth or mouth infections to distract you.

  • May Lower Risk of Heart Disease

Findings in numerous studies have suggested a positive link between chronic gum disease and development of cardiovascular problems such as heart disease, blockages of blood vessels, and strokes.

Thus maintaining good oral health can help you to protect overall health.

  • Preserves Your Memory

According to a reports in the Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery & Psychiatry,adults with gingivitis (swollen, bleeding gums) performed worse on memory tests and other cognitive skills than those with healthier gums and mouths, suggesting those with gingivitis were more likely to perform poorly on two tests: delayed verbal recall and subtraction -- both skills used in everyday life.

Regular dental visits and adopting correct oral hygiene habits can help in reducing incidences of  plaque accumulation and gingivitis.

Reduces Risks of Infection and Inflammation in Your Body

Research has found an association between gum disease and rheumatoid arthritis, an autoimmune diseases that causes inflammation of the joints. Experts say the mechanism of the destruction of connective tissues in both gum disease and RA is similar. Eating a balanced diet, seeing your dentist regularly, and good oral hygiene helps reduce your risks of tooth decay and gum disease. Make sure you brush twice a day and floss and use an antiseptic mouthwash once a day.

Helps Keep Blood Sugar Stable if You Have Diabetes

People with uncontrolled diabetes often have gum disease. Having diabetes can make you less able to fight off infection, including gum infections that can lead to serious gum disease.

It has been established that individuals with diabetes having poorly controlled blood sugar levels , are more likely to develop  severe gum problems than the individuals without diabetes. That, in turn, may make it more difficult to control blood sugar levels.

Thus, reducing your risk of gingivitis by protecting your oral health may help with blood sugar control if you have been diagnosed with diabetes.

Helps Pregnant Women Carry a Baby to Term

Women may experience increased gingivitis during pregnancy due to increased hormonal levels. Research suggests a relationship between gum disease and preterm, low-birth weight infants. Although there is no solid link, but maintaining good oral health during pregnancy still remains the best goal. If you're pregnant, visit your dentist or periodontist as part of your prenatal care. Consider it good practice for the role modelling that lies ahead for all new parents.

Taking good care of your mouth,teeth and gums --does more than help ensure you have a bright, white smile.

The message is clear: Practising proper dental care is important in many ways you might not have thought of before. Encourage your family to practice good oral hygiene by following these simple tips:

  • Brush your teeth at least twice a day with fluoride toothpaste.
  • Floss daily.
  • Eat a healthy diet and limit between-meal snacks.
  • Replace your toothbrush every three to four months or sooner if bristles are frayed.
  • Schedule regular dental checkups and cleanings.
  •  Avoid tobacco use

 Doing so can protect more than just your teeth -- it can save your life by reducing the risk of serious diseases and perhaps even preserving your memory in your golden years!