By Dr. Satish Pai, DDS, Guest Blogger for the BodyMind Institute
Founder: Putnam Orthodontics
Did you know that there exists a connection between oral health and overall health? Your oral hygiene is a window to your overall health. Our mouths are breeding grounds for bacteria--some are harmless, but some are disease-causing. If your oral health is at its best, then probably there is nothing to worry about, but if you do not have good oral hygiene, harmful bacteria can thrive and cause serious problems like tooth decay and gum disease. Some bacteria can travel to other parts of the body and be the cause of chronic diseases which affects our immune systems. It is therefore imperative that we take oral health care seriously, as it has a deep correlation to our overall body health.
How Does Good Oral Health Help Improve Your Overall Health?
- Helps Cope with Diabetes – People who have diabetes have trouble with processing the sugar due to resistance to a hormone called insulin, which converts sugar into energy. If there is bacterial-related inflammation in the mouth, it will be even harder for insulin in the body to do its work, which in turn would make diabetes even more difficult to manage. If a diabetic suffers from periodontal diseases, it can become a major complication. It is, therefore, best to keep your oral health in check to avoid complications associated with diabetes.
- Reduces Your Chances of Heart Disease – An alarming 91% of patients suffering from heart disease also suffer from periodontitis. Gum diseases have risks equivalent to that of smoking and obesity and having unhealthy eating habits. Inflammation in the mouth increases the inflammation in the blood vessels, which puts you at a higher risk for a heart attack. By taking care of your gums, you can keep all kinds of heart diseases at bay.
- Helps in Healthy Pregnancy – The fact that gum diseases in mothers are connected to premature birth and underweight babies should not be ignored. A pregnant woman is at a higher risk for gum disease as she goes through a lot of hormonal changes during this time. It is important to see your dentist and maintain good oral health for a safe and healthy pregnancy.
How Does Orthodontic Treatment Help in Maintaining Oral Health?
Orthodontic treatment not only gives you a beautiful smile but also a healthier mouth. It is difficult to clean crowded or crooked teeth, which eventually leads to tooth decay, gum disease, and tooth loss. This causes extra stress on chewing muscles that can lead to headaches, TMJ syndrome, and neck and back complications. If your dentist thinks that you should see a specialist for the treatment, he or she will refer you to an orthodontist.
An orthodontist is a dentist who specializes in the analysis, prevention, and treatment of dental and facial irregularities. The objective of orthodontics is to treat malocclusion (bad bite) with the help of braces, corrective procedures, and other appliances to straighten teeth and correct jaw alignment. Though treatments are personalized depending on the conditions of the patients, most of the patients wear braces for 1 to 3 years. The Orthodontist then suggests wearing a retainer post-treatment, which helps to hold the teeth in their new position.
The patient may face a little discomfort during the treatment, but these days braces are more comfortable than ever before. The materials which are used today require very little pressure and adjustments.
Oral Health Care Tips
- Brush and floss regularly as directed by the dentist
- Get regular check-ups done
- Use a recommended toothpaste and soft-bristled toothbrush for cleaning, especially teeth with braces
- Brush at an angle of 45-degree in small circular motion
Orthodontic treatment not only gives you better facial symmetry, but it also improves your overall health.