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The Link Between Oral Health And General Health

Dr. Shariq Ali khan

2 min read

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Poor oral health can have a negative impact on the rest of your body, and problems in oral hygiene can affect the whole body. Oral health and general health may seem unconnected but in fact, there are studies and dentists backing the fact that the former affects the latter.

There are certain bacteria that colonize our mouth—of these there are those that are normally present, as well as those that cause disease. Infrequent brushing, lack of flossing and disuse of antibacterial mouthwash allow the pathogenic bacteria to flourish, so much so that they can also gain entry into the respiratory and digestive tracts.

Researchers at University of North Carolina School of Dentistry combed through upward of a thousand medical cases to conclude that people with gum diseases were three times more likely to suffer from stroke and twice as likely to suffer from a heart attack as compared to other people. Moreover, a whole host of other diseases like osteoporosis, heart diseases, stroke, diabetes, and rheumatoid arthritis are more likely to develop in people with gum diseases that stem from poor oral hygiene.

One of the most common, yet underdiagnosed cases remains the chronic inflammation of the gums. This ongoing inflammation allows the oral bacteria—of which there are many—to enter the bloodstream and wreak havoc elsewhere. Those who are suffering from ongoing heart diseases like valve malfunction are more likely than others to develop issues.

The relation between medication and gum disease:

Apart from maintaining the pH of the mouth, saliva is also responsible for protecting the teeth as it contains antibodies that fight bacteria. Certain medications decrease this defence mechanism of the oral cavity by reducing the production of saliva. Examples of such medication include antihistamines, painkillers, decongestants, diuretics as well as antidepressants.

Oral health problems can become even worse in chronic diseases like HIV/AIDS and diabetes that affect the overall immune system of the body. Oral infections and systemic infections both prevail in such scenarios.

Conditions that are linked to poor oral health:

Following is the list of diseases that can be linked to poor oral hygiene. Please consult a dentist if you have poor dental hygiene.

  • Endocarditis: as mentioned before, heart diseases are particularly common in those with poor hygiene. Bacteria from the mouth gain entry into the bloodstream and then attach themselves to valves and the innermost lining of the heart to cause inflammatory changes and disease.
  • Pregnancy complications: gum inflammation and infection have been linked to low birth weight in babies, as well as premature birth.
  • Pneumonia: because oral bacteria can gain entry into the respiratory tract, it is not uncommon to see respiratory diseases like pneumonia in those who suffer from poor oral hygiene.

How to protect oral health?

Good oral hygiene is a no-brainer. In light of the above argument, the importance of oral hygiene cannot be argued. Infact, this brings us back to the reiteration of maintaining good oral hygiene by Prophet Muhammad (SAW), who said if I had not found it a hardship for my Ummah, I would order them to use Miswak for every Wudu. (Sahih Bukhari, vol. 1, p. 307, Hadith 887).

Additionally, you can brush and floss daily, eat a healthy diet with limited sugars and have regular dental checkups.

If you are concerned about oral health then you can book an appointment with top dentists in Lahore, Karachi and Multan through oladoc.com, or call our helpline at 042-3890-0939 for assistance to find the RIGHT professional for your concerns.

Disclaimer: The contents of this article are intended to raise awareness about common health issues and should not be viewed as sound medical advice for your specific condition. You should always consult with a licensed medical practitioner prior to following any suggestions outlined in this article or adopting any treatment protocol based on the contents of this article.

Dr. Shariq Ali khan - Author Dr. Shariq Ali khan is a cosmetic dentist and implantologist based in Lahore. He offers services like aesthetic crown & bridges, cosmetic dental surgery, and braces. You may book an appointment with him via oladoc.com
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