Before, when you encountered a health issue such as heart disease or diabetes, doctors rarely sent you to an orthodontist in search of solutions. Granted, this is usually the point when you need to treat both the symptoms and the cause, but it is not uncommon these days to trace the beginning of one’s ailments back to the gums. The science and the practice have changed since then.
The link between our ‘holistic’ wellbeing and our dental health has been solidly proven by medical research, but it appears that at least 30% of Australians still do not practice regular dental checkups. However, a visit to the dentist may be the smaller of ‘financial evils’ when you ponder on the possible consequences down the line, so in order to raise awareness about this crucial topic, here are some details on how oral health affects our bodies.
Your mouth is a ‘bridge’
When you think about it in the broadest sense, there is actually a sound logic behind it – the mouth is the ‘bridge’ between 90% of vitamins and minerals and our bodies. It only makes sense that, as the first line of defense, it is exposed to constant stress and microscopic damage which can lead to a number of issues. Blood vessels are plentiful in this area, so it is fairly easy to catch microbes and toxins which are deposited directly into the bloodstream. Depending on how unlucky you are, they can wreak all sorts of havoc. It is therefore in everyone’s interest to keep this oral area in the mintiest (pun intended) condition.
Oral ailments lead to heart disease and diabetes
Two big, life-threatening conditions – diabetes and heart disease – can be the direct result of oral ailments. More often than not, they are caused by gum disease. Periodontitis has a strong connection in particular with diabetes, and the understanding of this is quite clear: chronic inflammation in the mouth tends to weaken your ability to regulate the levels of blood sugar.
On the other hand, the connection between periodontitis and heart disease is harder to define, though it is clearly there. An overwhelming number of people with heart disease have previously discovered or undiscovered gum disease. In fact, by the time their heart condition is diagnosed, they have usually gotten used to some sort of chronic pain in the gum area. This is usually caused by microbe-induced inflammation which subsequently leads to inflammation of the blood vessels. However, one should note that intrusion of microorganisms is not the only issue that can cause such a problem…
Misalignment impedes dental health
About 55% of Australians feel self-conscious about their teeth, and no wonder – a ‘shy smile’ is a known substitute for what would otherwise be a wide grin. Countless people around the world can relate to this plight, and yet they rarely do something about it. As it turns out, malocclusion (which is a professional expression for misaligned teeth) actually impedes proper dental and gum health, in part due to possible inflammation and faster decay that it causes.
This is why every self-respecting Aussie should endure a few years of discomfort and ‘weird appearance’ in order to correct this. It goes without saying that we should all steer clear of braces which are liberally sold online according to the arbitrary mold, and check out a practicing Chatswood orthodontist with a track record of reliability. It goes without saying that nothing can compare to a treatment fashioned to your own needs, tooth alignment and overall dental health.
Your body will ache
Teeth that are not properly maintained are covered in plaque, and its sticky nature keeps the acid produced by bacteria on your teeth, which leads to damaged enamel. Any lack of maintenance can result in diseases which are deemed as typical ‘old people’ ailments. Osteoporosis is one such disease, especially among women, since research has shown that women who suffer from osteoporosis often have gum disease (more often than not, at least). Links to rheumatoid arthritis have also been made, and treating gum disease actually reduces the chronic pain of it.
One of the oldest and most widespread claims goes something along the lines of ‘cleanliness is next to godliness’. While most will venture to interpret this as a message about cleanliness at the skin level, the same actually goes for teeth, and scientific research is undeniably proving that dental health is much more important than many people think. Practices such as regular brushing, flossing, mouth-washing and regular visits to the dentist are crucial for maintaining one’s overall health. Just as most of the vitamins we absorb come through the mouth, so do numerous diseases as well.