Why Healthy Teeth & Gums Improve Overall Health

added on: June 27, 2016

We’ve all had moments where we wanted to take the easy route to solve a problem. This is especially true when adults feel stressed and money is tight. These circumstances make it hard to ‘stay the course’ when a less costly, ‘quick fix’ solution seems so appealing.

For missing teeth, dentures and partials may seem like such a simple solution. Although these recreate the presence of teeth in the mouth, these do little to improve one’s oral or overall health.

The pressure of dentures or partials on the gums actually contributes to bone loss. Bone loss occurs naturally when tooth roots are no longer present in the jaw bone(s). Bone loss is what causes difficulty eating, embarrassing slips and changes that age facial appearance far beyond one’s actual years.

Although it may seem ‘easier’ to have teeth removed or cheaper to avoid dental visits, the long-term health repercussions will eventually emerge in costly ways — physically, emotionally and monetarily.

When your mouth is healthy, you avoid the expense of dental repairs, including tooth replacement. It requires just minutes each day to keep teeth and gums in good shape through a twice-a-day commitment of brushing, daily flossing and regular dental check-ups.

However, problem after problem and frequent dental visits and associated expenses can be depleting. For those who are contemplating dentures to ‘solve’ their dental problems, here’s my advice: Ask someone who has worn dentures for over ten years, if they could go back in time, would they have made more effort to keep their natural teeth?

At this time, nearly half of all American adults fail to brush twice a day. When you assess the damage to not only your teeth and gums, but your overall health, these few minutes at the sink are the simplest ways to enjoy a healthier YOU! And, research has proven that your oral health affects many other aspects of your overall health.

Research has shown that adults who are missing all of their natural teeth die at an age that is ten years earlier, on average, than those who have their natural teeth. Research also indicates that toothless adults (regardless of whether they wear dentures) have a higher risk of heart disease and diabetes.

One study linked the effects of having fewer teeth and bleeding gums. In the study, cardiovascular (heart) problems, high blood pressure and high cholesterol showed a connection to the number of natural teeth and gum disease.

Poor dental hygiene and bleeding gums contain up to 700 types of bacteria. Through tears in weakened gum tissues, these bacteria are able to penetrate the bloodstream. This bacteria, once bloodborne, can increase the risk for heart attack regardless of how fit and healthy the adult is otherwise.

Studies have also shown that the number of natural teeth one has affects their potential for internal inflammation. A Swedish study of over 15,000 adults showed that, as the number of teeth declined for an adult, the higher the levels were for increased inflammation and conditions that lead to hardening of the arteries.

Along with higher cardiac risk, having few teeth was related to higher levels of cholesterol, blood sugar, blood pressure and waist circumference. Those with fewer teeth also meant a higher potential for developing diabetes.

It is also important to understand that your gum health is just as important as healthy teeth. Gum disease symptoms are often ignored when “nothing hurts,” including bad breath and tender, bleeding gums. This results in plaque, a sticky film of oral bacteria, on teeth and gums. Once it hardens into calculus (which takes less than two days) the results are the beginning of cavities, gum disease, receded gums and tooth loss.

It’s amazing that the risk of developing heart disease can be reduced by maintaining a healthy mouth. As research continues to reveal correlations between oral health and overall health, our population’s commitment to achieving and keeping a healthy mouth will hopefully increase significantly.

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