Oral health is an important part of overall health. Keeping a healthy smile is more than just about teeth – it is an important part of general health. Poor oral health is linked to diabetes, heart disease, adverse pregnancy outcomes, stroke and respiratory conditions.
Oral health is also an important part of social and emotional health for people of all ages. Maintaining healthy teeth and gums is a lifelong commitment. The earlier you learn proper oral hygiene habits — such as brushing, flossing, and limiting your sugar intake — the easier it’ll be to avoid costly dental procedures and long-term health issues.
Oral health has risen in importance in recent years, as researchers have discovered a connection between declining oral health and underlying systemic conditions. It turns out that a healthy mouth can help you maintain a healthy body. Bacteria can spread from your oral cavity to your bloodstream, causing infective endocarditis. Infective endocarditis is a lifethreatening infection of your heart valves. Your dentist may suggest you take antibiotics as a preventive measure before they perform any dental procedure that could dislodge bacteria in your mouth.
Even if you’ve been taking good care of your teeth, you’ll still need to have a professional cleaning twice a year during a routine visit with your dentist. Your dentist will recommend other treatments if you show signs of gum disease, infections, or other problems.
Your oral health has an effect on more than just your teeth. Poor oral and dental health can contribute to issues with your self-esteem, speech, or nutrition. They can also affect your comfort and overall quality of life. Many dental and oral problems develop without any symptoms. Seeing a dentist regularly for a checkup and exam is the best way to catch a problem before it gets worse.
Ultimately, your long-term outcome depends on your own efforts. You can’t always prevent every cavity, but you can reduce your risk of severe gum disease and tooth loss by staying on top of your daily oral care.