While the majority of people are aware that dental health is important, many do not know exactly why. Besides oral health, maintaining excellent dental health also plays an important role in preventing certain health conditions from developing.

What does dental health refer to?

Dental health pertains to all aspects of the mouth including the teeth, gums, and tongue. Failure to maintain oral hygiene can result in dental issues such as caries, gingivitis, and tooth loss. Poor oral health also affects one’s physical appearance (decaying teeth, caries, stains, etc.) and breath. In addition, dental issues not only affect the mouth area, it also affects the entire body.

Why is dental health essential for overall health and well-being?

Dental health can directly affect and contribute to certain health issues and diseases. Three of the most common health conditions affected by poor oral health include; endocarditis, cardiovascular disease, and diabetes.

Endocarditis – Bacteria that form due to gum disease can enter the bloodstream through cuts and abrasions found in the mouth. This bacteria has the potential to damage the heart valve as well as the heart lining.

Cardiovascular Disease – Some experts believe that blocked arteries, heart disease, and stroke are associated with harmful bacteria found in the mouth.

Diabetes – Diabetics have a higher risk of developing gum disease and other oral disorders because of their weakened immune system. In a normal person, bacteria can be easily eliminated by the body, whereas in diabetics it is harder for the body to do. In addition, people with diabetes are often unable to heal from infection and wounds, which can result in life-threatening mouth infections.

Respiratory Disease – Bacteria that are found in the mouth and throat can travel to the lower respiratory tract and cause severe infection. People with certain respiratory conditions, such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, have a higher chance of contracting pulmonary infection.

How can dental health be maintained?

There are various ways to protect oral health. The most popular methods of maintaining oral health include; practicing oral hygiene techniques, using fluoride, consuming cariogenic foods, and undergoing regular dental exams.

* Oral Hygiene – Brushing and flossing is the best way to keep the teeth, gums, and the entire mouth clean. Doing so will also help remove harmful bacteria that can lead to periodontal disease and other dental health issues.

* Cariogenic Foods – Certain foods can help protect your teeth against decay. Milk and cheese both contain calcium, casein, and phosphate, which all help prevent demineralization and keep the teeth strong.

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