Did you know that your oral health can affect your overall health? Yes, looking after your dental health is as important as looking after other aspects of your health. There is a significant connection between the two, and in this article, we will explore how other processes in your body are connected to your oral health and how the latter can negatively affect the other if neglected.
As you may know, your oral cavity is full of bacteria. There are over 700 kinds of naturally-occurring bacteria in your mouth. They can be found in different locations such as tongue, teeth and soft palate among others. Most of them exist on the base of symbiotics. Your habits and hygiene can have a significant impact on the microorganisms that live in your oral cavity. Most of them can be even removed with brushing, chewing or using mouthwash, however, some microorganisms can survive even that.
Unhygienic conditions welcome the formation of Gram-negative bacteria that cause diseases like gingivitis or periodontitis.
Multiple studies have confirmed that poor oral health is rarely confined to the mouth only. Various scientific sources review in detail the connection between oral health and general health. This generally means that harmful bacteria from your mouth can travel through the bloodstream and infect other organs and parts of the body. For instance, the heart can be affected by bacterial endocarditis. Other vital organs that can be affected by transporting bacteria over the bloodstream are the brain, kidneys and lungs among others.
The good news is that most of those severe diseases can be prevented by one simple action – maintaining good oral hygiene. Good oral hygiene is fundamental to the prevention of not only conditions that cause bad breath. It is also the backbone of the prevention of bacterial infections that can cause severe bone and tooth loss. Maintaining good oral hygiene is the backbone of the prevention of many diseases.
Gender and dental health
Studies have been researching for a while the gender-specific differences between men and women when it comes to oral health and tooth loss. It has been proven that on average, men are negligent of oral hygiene a lot more than women are. They tend to skip brushing and flossing more frequently, which naturally makes them more susceptible to needing urgent dental treatment.
However, studies show that women in all age groups have fewer teeth than men. And what’s more, on average they lose their first tooth in their twenties. Still, numerous other key factors can attribute to the different tooth loss rates. Those are mainly contextual differences such as nutrition habits, culture, resource availability and others that can be society dependent.
Childbearing and dental health
These problems start as early as childhood. While girls and boys are equally likely to develop caries at a young age, things look different when puberty hits. Massive hormonal changes are bound to take a toll on our overall health and in particular the gum composition during puberty.
Later on, it is not uncommon for women to start noticing tooth sensitivity and eventually tooth loss even in their early twenties. Unfortunately, it is not always up to how meticulous you are with oral care. Furthermore, tooth loss tends to have a domino effect, so once you start losing one or more teeth, others are bound to follow unless you turn to permanent solutions to tooth loss.
So why do women lose more teeth than men? This difference in tooth loss tends to be attributed to female sex hormone changes during pregnancy. What happens is that teeth become loose and tooth decay tends to speed up. A few studies that assess how common it is to develop tooth decay and later on tooth loss during pregnancy show that as many as 69% of women may need 1 or more teeth restorations.
How to spot gum disease when pregnant ?
The symptoms are distinctive, and they mostly involve redness, swelling, loose teeth and decay. Unfortunately, there isn’t anything that you can do to stop it because it occurs naturally. However, what you can do is be strict about your oral hygiene and visit religiously your routine dental check-ups. Those are usually recommended every six months, but surely there is no harm in increasing the frequency for your own health’s sake.
Shifts in the gum composition are a very natural process not only during pregnancy but through other hormonal periods. This is why we need to pay close attention to the established link between our mouth and the rest of the body.
Pregnancy and tooth loss
It is widely known that pregnancy affects the body in numerous ways and sometimes causes irreparable changes. In some cases, pre-existing conditions directly impact the chance of tooth loss. During that time, lots of processes change in a woman’s body, and hormones are causing a huge mess further.
Most of the nutrients that you ingest are directed towards the child’s alimentation. As a direct consequence, you may not keep up with all the vital nutrients that your body needs. For instance calcium – if you suffer from deficiency – your bones and teeth will deteriorate causing tooth loss as a result. Furthermore, women during pregnancy are exposed to the risk of gingivitis which can cause swollen gums, uncomfortable sensations and bleeding.
Nutrition plays an important role during pregnancy, as another contributing factor to tooth loss in pregnant women is protein intake. As you know, protein is responsible for regenerative processes in the body, particularly those in the gums. In cases of malnutrition or poor protein consumption your body cannot compensate for expenses and does not properly repair damaged tissue.
Here are 3 foods that I can recommend for better oral health:
- Salmon – for quite a while now, salmon has been considered a stellar example of a healthy food choice as it has low fat and high protein. It is also a great source of vitamin D, which in turn helps in better Calcium absorption for healthier teeth and bones.
- Carrots – are extremely useful especially when you consume them raw. Their crunchy texture serves as a natural toothbrush and helps clean your teeth. But, this does not exempt you from actual brushing and flossing. The mastication process helps massage your gums and improves gum health and blood circulation. Carrots are also rich in keratin and vitamin A which helps with tooth enamel regeneration.
- White meat – lean meat is a great source of protein for teeth and gum recovery. It is also rich in phosphorus which helps with bone recovery. Without it, your teeth could easily chip or crack even if you consume a diet rich in vitamin D.
How to deal with tooth loss?
According to the ADA restorative and preventive dental treatment are allowed during pregnancy. Still, for severe tooth loss, you may need a dental restoration with implants. If you have advanced tooth decay and several missing teeth, you may want to consider looking into long-term solutions to tooth loss such as fixed teeth over dental implants.
Dental implants with non-removable restorations are far superior to removable dentures for numerous reasons. Most importantly, they stop the bone loss process that starts when you lose a tooth, and specifically the root of it. They look and function just like your natural teeth and are extremely easy to maintain.
Bringing it all together
Men may have the upper hand when it comes to tooth loss, but that does not necessarily mean that you have to accept it as a long-life sentence. Dental implants are the masterpiece of tooth restorations. For the past few decades, dental implant treatments with implants have rapidly evolved making procedures far less invasive and more durable and aesthetically pleasing. So if you’re struggling with tooth loss and you have shattered confidence, you should know that there is a way out of it for good.