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How Your Oral Health Affects Your General Health

Understanding the Mouth and Body Connection

A healthy mouth and a healthy body go hand in hand. Understanding the close relationship between oral health and general health and the impact one has on the other is extremely important - and will let you know how to protect your mouth and body at all stages of life.

Oral Health is Much More Than a Nice Smile
A look into your mouth can reveal many things that also reflect your general health and well-being, including nutritional deficiencies, signs of other diseases, and unhealthy habits like alcohol or tobacco use.

Two-Way Relationship
Oral diseases take many shapes and forms, with the most common being gum disease and tooth decay. These oral diseases can negatively impact the rest of your body if they aren't treated properly; that is why oral health is essential to general health and well-being during each life stage.

General health conditions have also been identified to increase the risk of problems present within the mouth. For example, many oral diseases are linked with heart disease, diabetes, respiratory disease, and some cancers. Individuals with diabetes are at a higher risk of getting gum disease.

Poor oral health is often the result, as well as the cause, of poor general health. Protect your oral health and help safeguard your general and quality of life by taking action. 

 

Think Mouth. Think Health.

Keeping your mouth healthy is crucial for maintaining your general health and well-being.
  • Oral diseases affect 3.9 billion people worldwide
  • Chronic conditions kill 39.5 million people every year*
*(cancer: 8.8 million, diabetes: 1.6 million, heart disease: 17.7 million, respiratory disease: 3.9 million)

 
Importance of Oral Health
 

 

Control Common Risk Factors

Most oral diseases share common risk factors with general health conditions. These risk factors are triggered by individual lifestyle and behaviour, such as unhealthy diet (especially one high in sugar), harmful use of alcohol, tobacco use, and poor oral hygiene. By taking charge of your oral health you can help prevent oral diseases, as well as other health conditions.
 

Practice Good Oral Care

Your mouth is a mirror to your body and reflects your general health and well-being.

Protect your mouth and body from early in life by:
  • Eating a healthy diet: Consuming too much sugar is a major risk factor for oral disease (mainly tooth decay), as well as heart disease, diabetes, and cancer.
  • Avoiding tobacco use: Using tobacco in any form is unsafe and contributes to developing gum disease and oral cancer. Contributing to respiratory disease, heart disease, and other cancers Tobacco is the leading cause of preventable death in the world.
  • Avoiding excessive alcohol consumption: Drinking too much alcohol is a major risk factor for more than 200 diseases. Excessive consumption can increase the risks for gum disease, cancer of the mouth and tooth decay (due to high sugar content and acidity).
  • Wearing a mouthguard when engaging in contact sports: Protect your teeth with a customised mouthguard provided by your dentist. A properly fitted mouthguard can reduce injury to your teeth and trauma.
  • Adopting good oral hygiene habits: Brush your teeth for two minutes, twice a day, using either an electric or manual toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste. Also, ensure to clean between your teeth using floss or an interdental cleaner. Other things you can do to support good oral hygiene includes rinsing with a fluoride mouthwash and chewing sugar-free gum after meals.
  • Having regular dental check-ups: Visit the dentist every 6 months for regular check-ups. This allows your dentist to perform an extensive exam and clean, keeping an eye out for any signs of oral disease.

Remember

Preventive care is always the best option, so seek early detection and treatment to fight oral diseases and associated general health conditions.



Information sourced from the FDI World Dental Federation - access full article here.