How Your Oral Health Affects Your Overall Health

How Your Oral Health Affects Your Overall Health
Posted on 11/02/2016
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At Choonara Orthodontics, we know how much a beautiful smile means to our patients. On the surface, the purpose of orthodontic treatment is to fix malocclusions (bad bites) and misalignment in both teeth and jaws, which drastically improves your appearance and self-esteem. But did you know that neglecting orthodontic issues in your mouth can also negatively affect overall health? For example, when problems like crooked or protruding teeth are ignored, it can increase the likelihood of trauma (chipping, breaking or knocked out teeth) or even make necessary actions, such as chewing or speaking much more difficult. 

Researchers have found a link between oral health and overall health. It is believed that bacteria in the mouth can travel to other parts of the body via the bloodstream to lead to serious health problems like Type II diabetes and heart disease. We want to ensure all our patients from Johannesburg and surrounding areas and make their oral health a priority, and live long and happy lives.

What’s the Connection?

Overall, strong oral health habits and the body’s natural defense system do a great job of keeping the harmful bacteria in your mouth at bay. But what happens when someone is inconsistent with their brushing and flossing, or practice other unhealthy habits? Oral infections, such as tooth decay and gum disease, can result from an excess of bacteria in the mouth. 

There are also medical conditions that can be linked to poor oral health, such as:

  • Diabetes: Diabetes can increase a patient’s risk for periodontal issues, as those with it have a harder time controlling their blood sugar levels. Serious cases of gum disease might even have the potential to contribute to the progression of diabetes in some patients. Therefore, it’s extremely important to have your diabetes under control, as well as maintain a healthy lifestyle. 
  • Endocarditis: This infection affects the inner lining of your heart, and can occur when bacteria from other areas of your body (such as your mouth, as a result from poor oral hygiene) attach to damaged areas in your endocardium. 
  • Cardiovascular Disease: Inflammation and infections that arise from poor oral hygiene may trickle down, reducing blood flow to the heart and clogging arteries along the way

Tips for Maintaining Good Oral Hygiene

group of friends laughing with bracesPeople with crooked, crowded or misaligned teeth have difficulty thoroughly cleaning their teeth. When the teeth are not cleaned thoroughly, it can lead to all types of problems including tooth decay and gum disease which could result in pain, infection and tooth loss. Orthodontic treatment, through our variety of braces or Invisalign options, works in tandem with great oral health habits to give you a beautiful smile.

To safeguard both your oral health and overall health, it is crucial that you do a very good job of brushing and flossing your teeth every day. For those of you wearing braces which are bonded to your teeth, we recommend using an interdental toothbrush or proxabrush. This type of brush looks like a pipe cleaner and can reach into all those tiny spaces under wires and around bands and brackets. For flossing, we recommend using a floss threader that helps in getting the floss under the archwire of your braces.

Contact Choonara Orthodontics in Johannesburg Today!

If you have any questions about oral health or need some more tips for maintaining good oral hygiene, please don’t hesitate to contact us as we’re always happy to speak with you! If you would like to schedule an appointment with Dr. Choonara, please give us a call at (011) 678-8090. At Choonara Orthodontics, we offer exceptional, personalized orthodontic care to children, teenagers and adults living in and around Johannesburg, Sandton, and Midrand. We look forward to meeting you soon!