For some time now, medical experts have known that proper care of one’s teeth, gums, and mouth does more than just protect that area of one’s body. While daily dental hygiene is essential when considering oral health, practicing it every day has a long list of other benefits for other areas of the body too.
Taking good care of one’s teeth, gums, and mouth can help prevent disease and infection in the head, neck, heart, lungs, and other organs. And conversely, neglecting dental hygiene can increase one’s risk of severe illnesses in these vital areas.
Dental Ailments are Linked to Other Health Maladies
Dental infections, diseases, and health problems are not uncommon. Gum disease is considered to be the most common chronic inflammatory condition in the world.1 Unfortunately, gum disease is largely “silent,” meaning many do not know when they have it. That’s why dental checkups are so important.
And speaking of gum disease, researchers have linked gum disease to a long list of other illnesses, including:
- Heart disease
- Respiratory illness
- Rheumatoid arthritis
Researchers at the University of North Carolina School of Dentistry found that patients who suffered from gum disease were twice as likely to die from a heart attack and three times as likely to have a stroke.2
Researchers at the American Dental Association found that poor oral hygiene can lead to severe complications like bacterial pneumonia, arterial blockages, and preterm births in women.3 “The mouth is the window into the health of the body,” according to the ADA.
The Importance of Practicing Good Oral Hygiene
A healthy set of teeth and gums and a healthy mouth inspire confidence, make for a great smile, reduce bad breath, reduce and prevent pain, and improve general health. And with daily brushing and flossing, most Americans will find it quite easy to maintain good oral health.
But don’t forget to meet with your dentist for regular checkups, usually once every six months! Regular checkups are essential, as dentists can help you get the most out of preventive dental care by catching potentially cumbersome dental problems and addressing them before they become serious.