Improving Oral and Dental Health

Oral and dental health is critical for a person’s ability to function, speak and eat. It also affects how a person looks and feels. Poor oral health can lead to serious consequences including pain, disability and even death. The good news is that oral diseases are preventable and treatable.

Oral disease prevention starts at home and with routine dental care. This includes brushing and flossing, drinking water rather than sugary beverages like soda, tea and coffee, and scheduling regular dental appointments for cleanings and exams to detect early tooth decay, gum disease and other problems.

Good oral health also depends on eating a healthy diet and following other lifestyle habits that support good overall health and well-being. A healthy diet should include a variety of foods and limit processed and sugary foods. It should also be low in salt and high in fiber. People should also avoid tobacco products and limit alcohol intake.

There is growing evidence that the mouth is a window to the body. Studies suggest that bacteria and inflammation from gum disease can enter the bloodstream and travel to other organs, triggering or worsening certain conditions, such as heart attacks and strokes. Additionally, research suggests that a link exists between diabetes and oral health, with those with untreated periodontal disease having an increased risk of developing the condition.

Many people have difficulty accessing dental care. This is especially true in rural and low income communities. States can increase access by expanding the types of providers who can provide oral health services, relaxing supervision requirements and allowing the use of teledentistry to help reach underserved populations. They can also work with community organizations to create new models of care that help people get the dental care they need.

A person’s oral health and their general health are inextricably linked. For example, an individual with a chronic illness like heart disease is more likely to develop severe gum disease, which can lead to infections in other parts of the body, such as the liver and kidneys, or may spread from the mouth to the heart (endocarditis). Oral infections caused by herpes simplex virus, the common sexually transmitted infection, can cause cancer of the throat known as oropharyngeal cancers.

Addressing these and other determinants of health, or the factors that influence health status, is a crucial part of improving oral health outcomes. This approach to health promotion can lead to innovative solutions for preventing and treating health problems and for improving the quality of life.

Oral health is a crucial part of your overall well being and should be treated with the same importance as other aspects of your health, such as physical activity and nutrition. In fact, research has shown a strong link between your mouth and other parts of your body, such as your heart and blood vessels. A healthy mouth can also improve your mood and increase your confidence and sense of wellbeing. So make it a priority to brush and floss regularly and visit your local Northbrook dentist for routine checkups. These preventive appointments will help you keep your smile beautiful and avoid costly dental procedures in the future.