Most people are concerned with the appearance of their teeth and maintaining a good oral hygiene routine is key to keeping a smile looking bright and healthy. However, oral hygiene is also important for preventing oral health diseases and helping to promote good general health.
Many people assume that looking after your teeth and gums is a means of reducing the risk of oral health diseases, such as gum disease and decay. However, a growing number of studies have also indicated that oral health is important for health in general. Dentists often refer to the mouth as the window to the rest of the body and studies have confirmed that a link between poor oral health and a host of serious medical conditions, including heart disease, strokes and diabetes does exist. There is a growing body of evidence to support the notion that poor oral health increases the risk of developing these life-threatening conditions.
Diabetes and oral health problems
Research suggests that diabetes and oral health problems have a two-way relationship. Not only are people with diabetes more likely to suffer from gum disease, but people who have gum disease also have a higher risk of developing diabetes, as severe gum disease could affect blood glucose levels.
Diabetes increases the risk of oral health problems, because people with the condition are generally more susceptible to bacterial infections. Bacteria associated with gum disease have also been linked to an elevated risk of heart disease, strokes and complications during childbirth and labour in pregnant women.
Preventing oral health problems
Regular dental visits are important for everyone, but they are especially important for people who have a high risk of developing oral health problems. Patients with diabetes should stick to a good daily oral hygiene routine and visit their dentist for a check-up on a regular basis. This will allow the dentist to spot early warning signs of decay or gum disease and treat the condition before it progresses.
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