General Health Wednesday March 18, 2015

Are Your Teeth Making You Ill?

March 20th is World Oral Health Day, a day that's important for a number of reasons. You may not think much about the health of your mouth - why would you? - but it turns out that your oral hygiene can play a big part in the standard of your general health. A recent study even found that people with serious gum disease were 40% more likely to have a chronic condition than people without gum disease. So what can we do to make sure we don't fall foul of poor oral health?

It's almost certainly not something the average person would consider that much and the idea that your teeth could affect another part of your body seems strange - but what you have to remember is that the mouth is the gateway to the body. If bacteria builds up on your teeth then you can become prone to infection; your immune system kicks in and the gums become inflamed until the immune system is able to bring the infection under control. Over time, inflammation and the chemicals that it releases eat away at the gums and bone structure that hold the teeth in place and, if enough time passes, the inflammation can lead to severe gum disease known as periodontitis.

Periodontitis is a common oral condition that is associated with problems in the rest of the body. Its relationship with diabetes has been made clear and the risks of inflammation preventing the effectiveness of insulin have been well documented; the two conditions aggravate each other, with high blood pressure providing fuel for a condition like periodontitis to grow, which in turn can lead to a higher risk of rising blood pressure. Additionally, though the reasons are not yet fully understood, it's clear that gum disease and heart disease can go hand in hand with up to 91% of heart disease patients having periodontitis.

These two conditions have several causes in common with smoking, bad diet and excess weight factoring in each. The theory is that inflammation in the mouth causes inflammation in the blood vessels, and this can raise the risk of heart attack. Inflamed blood vessels allow less blood to travel between the heart and the rest of the body, raising blood pressure. There's also a risk that fatty plaque will break off the wall of a blood vessel and travel to the heart or the brain, leading to a heart attack or stroke.

The idea behind World Oral Health Day this year is, as you might have guessed, to improve oral health. Many of us do not think about or realise the risks and it's important that we start to try. Although it's not yet certain whether it's a case of correlation or cause, it is worth bearing in mind that there is a definitive link between bad oral hygiene and bad health overall.

Latest Stories

Get your daily dose of inspiration from our Best of healthexpress blog , where we showcase some of the most stunning stories and information.

General Health

Cow's Milk vs. Soy Milk, Which i...

Soy milk is often presented to us as a healthy milk alternative, especially for those who have trouble digesting animal milk, but is it better for...

Weight Loss

Relatively Painless Ways To Lose...

There's no arguing that trying to lose weight is boring, tedious and takes literally forever. If only there were some easy and painless ways to...

General Health

How to deal with allergies

Allergy UK says that 30-35% of the worldwide population will suffer from an allergy at some point, and there is an upwards trend of allergy...

Sexual Health

Sex Vs No Sex: Which Is Best For...

If you ask anyone this question, they will probably say that sex is best for health and more of it please. But there are always two sides to a...

General Health

Can you run for your bus? Appare...

The health of British men and women is not glowing. 'Could Try Harder' should be scribbled our health reports because a new survey conducted by the...

Weight Loss

Occasional Consumption; Is It To...

We are in the midst of an obesity crisis of which we are uncertain of the outcome. Who knows how this epidemic will pan out in the future? Are we...

Load More Stories
comments powered by Disqus