Published by Claudia Giunta.
Did you know there are up to 6 million bacteria living in a person’s mouth? Not all of it is bad bacteria; some of the bacteria can do a whole lot of good for your mouth. Good oral health doesn’t necessarily mean eliminating all of the bacteria, it means doing what you can to help the good bacteria thrive.
While the majority of the bacteria in your mouth are harmless, the mouth is also the entry point to your digestive and respiratory systems. Some of the bacteria that enter your mouth can cause diseases. Learning proper oral hygiene and care can help prevent bacteria from leading to infection, tooth decay, and other diseases.
The mouth is the primary access point into the body and an ideal environment for bacteria to live and grow. Of the 6 million bacteria living in a person’s mouth, the good bacteria are well-controlled by the body’s natural defenses when good oral hygiene is practiced. Without proper oral hygiene, bacteria can multiply, enter the bloodstream, and spread to other parts of the body.
Many of the factors that impact our oral health are controllable with the right habits. Our diet and hygiene routine are lifestyle practices that should be prioritized to achieve ideal oral health. Eating healthy foods and integrating good hygiene habits into your daily routine affects not just your teeth and gums, but your whole body. This means that without these healthy choices, issues in the mouth such as cavities, gingivitis, or severe gum disease aren't the only concerning factors. Your body can also be at risk of cardiovascular disease, endocarditis, diabetes, pneumonia, pregnancy/birth complications, and more.
When oral hygiene isn’t maintained, bacteria in your mouth can find their way into your body and contribute to the onset of many potential health problems:
Poor dental hygiene practices can lead to gum diseases that are linked to cardiovascular disease. Harvard Health Publishing suggests that this is due to the bacteria present in the mouth (which can cause gum disease) entering the bloodstream and causing inflammation of the blood vessels. The evidence showcases that people with poor dental hygiene have a higher risk of developing cardiovascular issues such as heart attack and stroke.
Maintaining good oral hygiene by flossing, brushing, and getting your teeth routinely cleaned by a professional dentist can help prevent you from gum disease. Preventing gum disease is important in protecting your heart health.
Infective endocarditis is an infection in the lining of the heart caused by bacteria in the bloodstream. The condition can be life-threatening, as infective endocarditis can also affect the heart’s valves and muscles. According to the American Heart Association, the biggest causes of infective endocarditis include poor oral hygiene, gum injuries caused by tooth brushing, and certain dental procedures.
Individuals who already live with cardiovascular issues are at a higher risk of developing infective endocarditis. Other risk factors include congenital birth defects, having a pacemaker or artificial heart valve, and regularly using intravenous drugs. Whether you are more high-risk or not, it’s important to practice good oral hygiene to help reduce the risk of developing any serious diseases or infections.
Gum disease increases your risk of developing diabetes. Additionally, if you already have diabetes, there is an increased risk of gum disease because you are at a higher risk of developing mouth infections. Gum disease causes inflammation, leading to higher blood glucose levels. This, in turn, increases your risk of diabetes.
If you have diabetes, you should consult your doctor about how to best manage your condition. To ensure you’re taking proper care of your oral health, see your dentist every six months and follow their suggestions for daily hygiene and preventing infections.
When the mouth contains an excessive amount of germs, an overgrowth of harmful bacteria can grow. This can cause dental problems and cause some of the bacteria to enter the respiratory system. The oral bacteria can then multiply and make its way into the lungs, causing pneumonia and other respiratory diseases.
To prevent pneumonia caused by poor oral health, it’s important to properly clean your teeth daily and get regular professional dental cleanings. Dental cleanings help to reduce bacteria in the mouth, limiting its potential to enter your lungs. This helps keep your lungs bacteria-free and reduces your risk of any respiratory diseases.
Pregnant individuals can be at a higher risk of developing mouth infections such as cavities and gum disease. Approximately 40% of pregnant women develop periodontitis, which is a type of serious gum disease caused by severe inflammation of the gums. Symptoms may include red, bleeding, or swollen gums. It’s important that pregnant individuals practice good dental hygiene because mouth infections can be a threat to both the parent and the baby. Periodontitis has been linked to premature birth, as well as low birth weight.
Being proactive about your health means focusing on preventative measures to improve your holistic health and avoid any severe medical concerns. To be proactive about your dental hygiene, consider the following:
Taking care of your oral health doesn’t just benefit your mouth– it benefits your whole body! Gum disease has been associated with various health issues including diabetes and cardiovascular disease. It’s important to be as diligent about your oral health as you are with your exercise and diet because it can affect other aspects of your health.
Although we do not have dentists on staff to help clean your teeth, our medical professionals know how to best guide our patients on their health and wellness. Starting with our 3D body scanner and labs, we can assess your body inside and out to formulate the best treatment plan from IV infusions to weight management to hormone balancing.
At Nova Vita, we recognize that each patient is a combination of health, history, and genetics. This is why we help create a personal wellness plan for each patient to help them achieve optimal health. Start your proactive health journey with Nova Vita and request an appointment online today.