Thursday, April 18, 2024

World Oral Health Day: How Oral Health Affects Overall Health – Dentist

In the realm of health and wellness, we often focus on various aspects of physical and mental well-being, such as exercise, nutrition, mental health and other trending health topics, but one crucial element tends to be overlooked and that is oral health. 

The health of our mouths, including our teeth, gums, and overall oral hygiene, is not merely about maintaining a sparkling smile. Our smiles are not just about aesthetics; they are windows to our overall health. 

Oral health is an integral component of our overall health and well-being, influencing various aspects of our body’s functioning and potentially impacting systemic health in profound ways.

This is why every year, 20th of march is dedicated to oral health in a bid to reduce the burden of oral diseases, which affect individuals, health systems and economies everywhere. World oral health day is geared towards empowering people with the knowledge, tools and confidence to secure good oral health.

Read Also: Study Shows Mouthwash Can Kill Coronavirus Within 30 Seconds

Thus, this year’s campaign focuses on the intricate link between oral health and general health because: “a happy mouth is… A happy body.” Which is why we want to empower everyone, everywhere to value and take care of their mouths and understand that by doing so, they can also protect their overall well-being. 

On today’s Health and Lifestyle Edition of This Morning Show on LN247 a renowned dentist AND SENIOR REGISTRAR, ORAL AND MAXILLOFACIAL SURGERY, LAGOS UNIVERSITY TEACHING HOSPITAL, LAGOS SHED MORE light on why oral health is crucial for our overall well-being.

In his words, what we eat and drink directly impacts our teeth and gums. Foods high in sugar and acidic drinks can lead to tooth decay and gum disease. Opting for nutritious foods like fruits, vegetables, and dairy products can help keep our smiles healthy and strong.”

He further went on to state that The human body is a complex system where each part is interconnected, and oral health is no exception. Research over the years has unveiled intricate connections between oral health and various systemic diseases, including cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, respiratory infections, and adverse pregnancy outcomes.

Cardiovascular Health: The Heart-Mouth Connection

The link between oral health and cardiovascular health is perhaps one of the most extensively studied. Poor oral health, particularly gum disease (periodontitis), has been associated with an increased risk of developing heart disease, stroke, and other cardiovascular conditions. The theory behind this connection lies in the inflammatory nature of gum disease. Inflammation in the gums may contribute to inflammation in other parts of the body, including blood vessels, which can ultimately lead to cardiovascular issues.

Diabetes Management: Bidirectional Impact

For individuals living with diabetes, maintaining good oral health is crucial. Poorly controlled diabetes can lead to gum disease, while gum disease, in turn, can make it challenging to control blood sugar levels, creating a vicious cycle. By prioritizing oral hygiene and regular dental check-ups, individuals with diabetes can better manage their condition and reduce the risk of complications.

Respiratory Health: Breathing Easy with Good Oral Care

The mouth serves as the entry point for both food and air, making it a potential breeding ground for harmful bacteria. Research suggests that the bacteria responsible for gum disease can find their way into the respiratory system, potentially increasing the risk of respiratory infections such as pneumonia. By maintaining good oral hygiene practices, individuals can help minimize the risk of these infections and promote better respiratory health.

Pregnancy Outcomes: A Healthy Mouth for a Healthy Baby

Expectant mothers often prioritize their overall health during pregnancy, but oral health is frequently overlooked. However, poor oral health during pregnancy has been linked to adverse outcomes such as preterm birth and low birth weight. Hormonal changes during pregnancy can make gums more susceptible to inflammation and infection, emphasizing the importance of regular dental care during this critical time.

Further more, the connection between oral health and overall health underscores the importance of adopting good oral hygiene habits and seeking regular dental care. Simple practices such as brushing twice a day, flossing daily, and visiting the dentist for check-ups and cleanings can go a long way in promoting not only a healthy smile but also a healthy body.

As we strive for holistic well-being, let us not overlook the significance of oral health in the grand scheme of things. By recognizing and embracing the connection between oral health and overall health, we can unlock the power of prevention and pave the way for a healthier, happier future—one smile at a time. So, let’s commit to nurturing our smiles and reaping the rewards of a lifetime of vitality and well-being.

As we wrap up our celebration of World Oral Health Day, let’s remember that a healthy smile is a beautiful smile. By prioritizing oral health, we can enjoy a lifetime of happy smiles and good health. 

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