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The Connection between Oral Hygiene and Whole Body Wellness

When you think about going to the dentist, you may be thinking only about your teeth. But proper dental care is so much more than that.

Making checkups and cleanings at the dentist a regular part of your healthcare routine is an investment in your overall health and wellness because good oral hygiene is an essential component for optimal total body health.

Considering that the body is a synergistic system of connections that create the whole, it makes sense that your overall health will be significantly impacted by your oral health. Healthcare systems are recognizing the value in treating diseases and disorders from the whole-body perspective more and more, so much so that it’s becoming commonplace for cardiac facilities to incorporate dental professionals into the treatment plans for heart disease patients.

Neglecting proper dental care poses serious potential risks, increasing your likelihood of contracting periodontal diseases (a term referring to infections affecting the structures around the teeth, such as the gums) which are a precursor to a number of diseases that may develop from there, such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

Diseases Linked to Poor Oral Health

Although perhaps not the most pleasant thought to ruminate on, the mouth is teeming with bacteria and when not properly managed and cared for, it becomes a breeding ground for diseases to develop – beginning with gum diseases which then can begin to travel to other parts of the body and develop into a whole host of new diseases, some of which can be life-threatening.

For example, a healthy mouth may contain up to 600 species of bacteria, but an unhealthy mouth can easily host up to twice that number and often including more damaging strains of bacteria which significantly increase the chances of traveling from the mouth to the rest of the body and creating disease and illness.

Among the diseases you’re at significantly increased risk for if you have untreated periodontal diseases are:

  • Endocarditis – a condition where the linings of the heart chambers and heart valves contract an infection, most often as a result of bacteria or other germs spreading through the bloodstream from other parts of the body (such as the mouth).
  • Heart disease - also referred to as cardiovascular disease, this refers to the narrowing or blockages of blood vessels which may lead to heart attacks, angina, or strokes.
  • Diabetes – a condition wherein the body is either unable to produce insulin or unable to properly utilize insulin.
  • Alzheimer’s and dementia – disorders of the brain wherein memory and reasoning function deteriorates.
  • Premature birth/low birth weight babies – babies born to women with periodontal disease have a much higher likelihood of being born prematurely or with a low birth weight.

What You Can Do To Protect Yourself

It’s difficult and in most cases impossible to effectively treat the myriad diseases and disorders of the mouth at home. These may include periodontal disease, high levels of bacteria, cavitation, out of balance pH levels in the mouth, and so on.

Thus, it’s crucial that in a proactive health plan, you include frequent dental visits to keep your mouth and teeth in tip-top shape and catch any disorders that may be developing early on.

In between your routine cleanings and check-ups, you can take proactive maintenance measures to preserve your dentist’s work. Focus on incorporating these practices into an overall healthy lifestyle and you’ll be rewarded with increased vitality and higher quality of life in general.

  • Properly brush your teeth at least twice daily
  • Floss daily
  • Fix any cavities immediately
  • Follow prescribed treatment protocols for optimal pH levels of the mouth
  • Replace your toothbrush regularly – at least every three months
  • Don’t smoke
  • Keep hydrated

The Benefits of Adopting A Proactive Dental Routine

As noted previously, oral health isn’t a standalone practice regimen; it’s part of a total-body healthcare protocol which contributes to a potential extension on your lifespan and certainly will allow you to enjoy your days more through optimal wellbeing.

When you incorporate excellent oral hygiene practices into your total body care routine, you’ll find that you’re going to get a big payoff for your efforts in the long-run. You’ll be gaining time and saving money because it’s part of a preventative maintenance system for your health, and you’ll love the added vitality improved health will allow you to enjoy in your daily life.

Plus, you’ll enjoy owning those sparkling pearly whites and that’s certainly something to smile about.

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