Meticulous and regular care helps maintain oral health and keeps your smile healthy. What many people don't know is that oral health actually affects the health of the body as a whole. There are links between oral health problems and chronic conditions such as diabetes and cardiovascular disorders. Which makes good oral hygiene all the more important.
The usual culprit is a bacterial film called plaque. The bacteria which cause plaque don't just live on our teeth – which make up just 20% of our mouth – they also live on our tongues, cheeks and gums. If we don't remove plaque properly every day, it attacks our tooth enamel. Chalky white spots develop: the first indications of decay. You need to take action fast or this will quickly turn into a cavity.
Nowadays we take care of our health much more proactively and holistically than we ever used to, but we don't normally think of good oral health as an indicator of good general health. Often we don't think about our oral health until it's already too late. And when we do think about oral health, we're generally only thinking about our teeth. We don't consider our mouth as a whole, including our tongue, cheeks and gums. Yet taking care of your oral health on a regular basis helps prevent tooth decay and gum disease.
Adults shouldn't neglect their gums. Inflammation of the gums (gingivitis) often goes undetected because it is usually painless. If left untreated, gingivitis can develop into periodontitis. Studies have found a negative relationship between periodontitis and other conditions such as diabetes.
In this context it's better to say that if someone has bad teeth, there is a greater likelihood of them becoming ill with other conditions. The link between diabetes and periodontitis is well established through research. However, that doesn't mean that a person who has gum disease will also develop diabetes. It's more the case that people who have diabetes should keep their gums healthy to avoid complications. There is a lot of evidence of a link between oral health and overall health, with oral health conditions such as gum problems being linked to diabetes, cardiovascular disease and respiratory illnesses. But oral health problems are avoidable!
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