According to the Surgeon General’s Report on Oral Health, your mouth is a mirror that reflects your overall health and well-being. It’s also a key determinant of your nutritional status and your self-esteem. “Oral health means more than sound teeth. Oral health is integral to overall health,” she said. The report was a wake-up call to “alert Americans to the full meaning of oral health and its importance to general health and well-being.”
What Does Oral Health Mean?
The word “oral” refers to the mouth, you are probably assume that it includes the teeth, gums and supportive tissues, but also the roof and the floor of the mouth, the tongue, the lining of the mouth and the throat, lips, salivary glands, upper and lower jaws, and chewing muscles. You many not have realized that oral health also involves the nervous system, the immune system and the vascular system. According to the report, oral health means overall health in the tissues that “allow us to speak and smile; sigh and kiss; smell, taste, touch, chew and swallow; cry out in pain; and convey a world of feelings and emotions through facial expressions.”
Not only are these aspects of the body related but the health of the oral tissues is actually indicative of the health of organs and systems throughout your body. Your dentist can assess a lot about your overall health simply by examining your oral health.
- Nutritional deficiencies, microbial infections, immune disorders and some forms of cancer.
- Analyzing saliva can give clues about diseases.
- Facial nerves have other counterparts in the body.
- Jaw bones and the jaw joint function like other musculoskeletal areas.
Conversely, research is showing us that disease within the mouth, especially periodontal disease, is connected to other illnesses. Infections in the mouth are a gateway for disease-causing bacteria to enter the bloodstream and provoke a number of diseases, including:
- Heart disease and stroke
- Respiratory infection
- Stomach ulcers
- Low birth weight
- Premature birth
The Good News Is Gum Disease Is Preventable
Decay and gum disease are the most common, widespread of the dental diseases and they can go on for a long time before being addressed because decay does not hurt. Fortunately, decay and gum disease are preventable. Proactive measures, such as fluoridating drinking water, teaching kids about taking care of their teeth in the schools, educating the public about nutrition, and promoting anti-smoking campaigns not only save billions of dollars each year in public health costs, according to the report, but they also help people to keep their teeth for their lifetime!
Where Do I Begin To Get My Oral Health On Track Again?
A simple visit to the dentist for a routine exam is your first step toward bringing your mouth to health. The American Dental Association recommends that you visit your dentist twice a year to have your teeth cleaned. With dental x-rays, we can detect decay even at early stages and with proactive treatments such as fluoride, cavity risk assessments, and laser dentistry we can head off problems before they get worse. If you should need restorative treatment, we offer the latest technology and sedation services at The Gendler Dental Center to make the experience comfortable and pleasant. It would be our privilege to help you take that next step toward oral health!