Dubai, United Arab Emirates — Oral health is not just about having a bright, white smile. Good oral hygiene practices also have a direct impact on overall health. Research has shown that poor oral health can contribute to a range of health issues, including heart disease, diabetes, and respiratory problems.
One of the most significant health concerns linked to poor oral health is heart disease. According to the American Heart Association, people with gum disease are nearly twice more likely to develop heart disease than those without it. Some theories suggest that the bacteria in the mouth can enter the bloodstream and cause inflammation throughout the body, including the heart.
Another health issue linked to poor oral health is diabetes. People with diabetes are more susceptible to gum disease, which can make it harder to manage blood sugar levels. In turn, uncontrolled blood sugar levels can lead to further oral health issues, creating a vicious cycle. A study published in the Journal of Periodontology found that people with poorly controlled diabetes were more likely to have severe gum disease than those who had better control over their blood sugar levels.
Respiratory problems, such as pneumonia, have also been linked to poor oral health. Bacteria from the mouth can be inhaled into the lungs, leading to infections like pneumonia. In particular, elderly people who have trouble brushing their teeth or wearing dentures are at a higher risk of developing respiratory infections.
As dentists, we emphasis on brushing the teeth twice a day with fluoride toothpaste and floss at least once a day. It’s also recommended to visit the dentist every six months for a cleaning and checkup.
There are also some lifestyle changes that people can make to improve their oral health. Quitting smoking or using tobacco products can significantly reduce the risk of gum disease and other oral health issues.
Nearly half of all adults over the age of 30 have some form of gum disease. And one in four adults have untreated cavities, which can lead to more severe dental problems down the line. These statistics highlight the need for better oral hygiene practices and more frequent dental checkups.