The Connection Between Oral Health & Overall Body Wellness

Brunette woman wears a baseball cap and smiles with her mouth open showing good oral health and overall body wellness

You may not realize it, but your dental health is closely connected to the health of your overall body. Here, we’ll explain what the connection between them is, what conditions affect both your dental and overall wellness, and how to protect your oral health.

The Connection Between Dental Health & Overall Wellness

Your mouth is essentially a gateway to the rest of the body–a gateway that is naturally filled with bacteria, most of it harmless, but some of it potentially dangerous. With proper oral hygiene, such as brushing your teeth twice a day and flossing at least once a day, you can rid your mouth of much of the bad bacteria that cause poor oral health. However, if you do not thoroughly clean your mouth, you run the risk of developing serious dental health issues, such as bad breath, gum disease, and tooth decay. These conditions are worrisome for your teeth and gums, but they can also negatively impact the rest of your body.

Conditions Associated with Poor Oral Health

One of the most serious conditions associated with poor dental health is cardiovascular disease. Research suggests that oral bacteria associated with your dental issues can get into your bloodstream and travel to your heart. This leads to clogged and hardened arteries, a condition called atherosclerosis, which can contribute to a stroke, heart attack, and tissue death. Bad bacteria from your mouth can also make its way to your heart and cause endocarditis, an infection of the inner lining of your heart.

Gum disease is another culprit that affects both the mouth and the body. When you have inflamed and infected gums, you can breath in that bad bacteria and develop an infection in your lungs like pneumonia. Gum disease has also been linked to low birth weight and premature birth. Moreover, there is early evidence that suggests an association with Alzheimer’s disease.

Health Conditions with Oral Effects

There are also a number of health conditions that affect the mouth. Those who have diabetes have an increased risk of developing gum disease because diabetes can decrease the body’s ability to fight infection. People who have HIV/AIDS often have painful oral health issues such as mucosal lesions, and those with Alzheimer’s disease experience a decreased ability to care for their oral hygiene as their dementia progresses. Other health conditions that affect oral health include osteoporosis, eating disorders, head and neck cancers, rheumatoid arthritis, and Sjogren’s syndrome, an immune disorder.

How to Keep Your Oral Health in Tip-Top Shape

Regardless of the current state of your oral health and your overall health, the best way to protect your oral health is by practicing good oral health habits every day. Brush your teeth twice a day for two minutes each time with a fluoridated toothpaste, floss at least once a day, drink plenty of water, and eat a healthy diet low in added sugar, refined carbohydrates, and acids. It’s also vital for your oral health to come in for regular checkups and cleanings. Contact us today to schedule your next appointment at Embrace Dental Care!

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View looking up into 3 dentists in turquoise scrubs holding tools performing dental surgery

If you’ve just had oral surgery, you may be wondering how you should recover after the procedure. Here, we’ll give you some tips on how to care for your teeth after dental surgery.

  1. Take It Easy
  2. One of the most important things to do for your teeth and your body is to take it easy so yourself time to heal. Particularly in the 24-48 hours after surgery, don’t perform any strenuous physical activity, drive a car, or operate machinery. Instead, stay home and rest in bed or on the couch with your head propped up by pillows. This will reduce any bleeding or swelling.

  3. Ice Your Mouth
  4. After dental surgery your face may swell or bruise. While this is completely normal, you can apply ice to your face and jaw to help the swelling go down. For the first 24 hours after the surgery, place ice packs against your face for 15 minutes and then remove for another 15 minutes. Repeat this process as needed.

  5. Be Careful of What You Eat
  6. While you may be ready to chow down on a hamburger after surgery, your mouth and teeth won’t. For the next few days after the surgery, choose soft foods and liquids such as pureed soup, yogurt, smoothies, applesauce, cream of wheat, and oatmeal. Just make sure nothing is too hot or too cold. If possible, opt for foods that are high in vitamins A and C–which will aid the healing process–such as mashed sweet potatoes and stewed carrots. Additionally, avoid alcohol and anything spicy, don’t drink from any straws, and stay away from any and all tobacco products.

    Aerial view of a bowl of soft white yogurt sprinkled with uncooked oats and sliced strawberries

  7. Brush Carefully
  8. After surgery, you’ll need to continue to brush your teeth, but be sure to be very gentle around the affected area. You don’t want to cause any further irritation.

  9. Keep Your Mouth Clean
  10. Avoid rinsing for 24 hours after the procedure. But then, to help keep the surgical site clean, gently rinse with warm salt water a few times a day. This rinse gently removes any bits of food stuck around the affected area that could lead to tooth decay or infection.

  11. Follow Your Dentist’s Orders
  12. It is vital that you follow the instructions of your dental surgeon. Follow all their post-operative care instructions and only take any prescriptions in the correct doses. By following their recommendations, you can avoid infection and promote a smooth recovery.

More Questions? Ask Us!

If you have any other questions about caring for your teeth after dental surgery, contact us today.

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Embrace
Your Smile!

8544 US Highway 42, Suite 500, Florence, KY 41042
(859) 371-4000

Practice Hours
Mon - Tue: 8AM - 5PM
Weds - Thurs: 10AM - 7PM
Friday: 10AM - 5PM
4122 Shelbyville Rd Suite 103,
Louisville, KY 40207
(502) 890-7760

Practice Hours
Mon - Tue: 8AM - 5PM
Weds - Thurs: 10AM - 7PM
Friday: 10AM - 5PM