HEALTHY MOUTH TIPS
Oral Health as a Reflection of General Health
All dentists know that oral health is one of the chief indicators of a person’s overall general health, and it is important for patients to realize this as well. The mouth is the gateway to the entire body, and if problems arise in the mouth, they can easily travel into the digestive system, bloodstream, and other areas of the body, causing problems in one’s general health.
There are many clues to be found in a person’s mouth that can indicate potential problems in other areas of their body.
Because the mouth, like all organs, depends on the proper functioning of certain bacteria in the correct ratio and balance to one another in order to remain healthy, any imbalance in the bacteria of the mouth can lead to similar imbalances in the digestive tract and other areas of the body.
Additionally, problems in the mouth such as tooth decay, caused by the proliferation of harmful bacteria accumulated between teeth and beneath the gum line, can also lead to serious infections, periodontal disease, and eventually produce serious bone loss, and further problems caused by a collapse in the structure of the lower face.
For this reason, in addition to a healthy diet that limits the ingestion of refined sugar and sweets that may stick to the teeth, proper dental hygiene, including regular brushing and flossing, and regular dental checkups, are essential to maintaining general good health. Regular dental cleanings are especially essential, in order to thoroughly remove the buildup of dental plaque caused by the accumulation of harmful bacteria in the mouth.
The American Dental Association recommends brushing after every meal, and flossing at least twice daily. Professional dental cleanings should ideally be performed two to three times yearly, depending on a person’s age and any oral conditions they may have.
Prompt treatment of dental problems as they crop up, such as filling in cavities and correcting malocclusions and other orthodontic problems, also translates into an overall healthier mouth that is easier to keep clean and healthy. When the teeth are overcrowded or crooked, it becomes much more difficult to remove harmful bacteria that can lead to oral problems, and if cavities are left unattended, the harmful bacteria may spread to the bone tissue beneath the gum line, affecting the dental root and surrounding bone.
Also, when tooth decay produces the loss of a tooth, a whole series of problems may crop up in the underlying bone tissue, eventually leading to serious bone loss and the potential loss of other teeth, creating a vicious cycle. These problems may be prevented by the insertion of dental implants.
Advanced bone loss resulting from tooth loss, tooth decay, gingivitis, and periodontal disease, if left untreated, may become a serious problem that can be far more difficult to treat than these more minor issues, also requiring more expensive, as well as more invasive, treatments.
For state-of-the-art dentistry, including preventive care, regular checkups, and solutions such as dental implants, contact Dr. Steve S. Kim, a dental implant dentist with over 13 years’ experience serving the South Bay community in Torrance, Palos Verdes, Carson, and Hawthorne, and neighboring areas in California.