Dental health: more than just a mouthful

Dental health: more than just a mouthful

by Pamela Ng 03 Jan 2020

Unlike what most may think, dental hygiene affects more than just the mouth, teeth and gums – it can affect your overall physical health as well. Poor dental health can lead to periodontal conditions, but it can also cause and worsen some health problems, such as heart disease and diabetes.


How does it cause other health problems?

Some researchers have theorised that infections in the mouth can lead to an activation of the body’s immune system. As a result, multiple enzymes are produced to tackle the infections. However, they can damage gum tissues and bone when released in significant amounts. The immune response can also release many other chemicals that can potential cause or worse various health conditions, such as heart disease.


There is another theory: when dental hygiene is poor and oral bacteria are out of control, the bacteria can spread and infect other parts of the body. For instance, pneumonia patients are sometimes found to have mouth bacteria in their lungs.


What kind of health problems can poor dental health cause?

Heart disease: Poor dental hygiene can cause inflammation in the mouth, thus inflaming and constricting blood vessels. As a result, the impeded blood flow increases the risk of heart disease.


Diabetes: Bacteria in the mouth can reduce the efficiency of insulin such that it converts glucose to glycogen more slowly. As result, blood sugar level becomes more difficult to regulate and manage, increasing the risk of diabetes.


Lung conditions: As bacteria builds up in the mouth, they can also spread to the lungs, worsening respiratory conditions such as pneumonia and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).


Ultimately, it is important to improve and maintain your dental hygiene to the highest level. This not only lessens the risk of periodontal diseases, but also other health conditions. Brush your teeth well and floss on a daily basis, and also remember to visit your dentist regularly too. You never what nasty surprises might be waiting for you in the space between your teeth!