Your oral health is a mirror of your overall health. Maintaining good oral hygiene is more important than you could have thought. Your health is affected by your oral health and vice versa. And as you age, a lot of changes occur in your mouth too.
Just like other parts of the body, your mouth is home to hundreds of bacteria. Most of these bacteria are good and help in maintaining the oral flora and fauna balance. But the mouth can act as an entry point to unwanted bacteria too. These can directly enter your digestive and respiratory tracts. Some of these bacteria can cause diseases. Your oral health may also face the wrath of other health conditions that you have.
Here are some health conditions that impact your oral health:
In diabetes, there is an increased level of glucose throughout the body, including the saliva. These increased glucose levels make the mouth a conducive place for harmful bacteria to grow and thrive. These bacteria combine with food and form a soft and sticky film on teeth and gums called plaque. Plaque can also occur due to consuming sweet and sugary foods. Plaque causes cavities and tooth decay. Some type of plaque can also cause gum disease and bad breath. If left untreated, plaque could advance on to tartar. Tartar causes gum diseases like gingivitis and periodontitis. There could be an occurrence of oral thrush or dry mouth syndrome.
AIDS is a condition in which HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) attacks and destroys the immune system of a person. In later stages of this disease, the immune system is so compromised that a person is susceptible to infections and cancer.
The mouth is one of the first parts of the body to be affected when infected with HIV. As your body is already weakened, your mouth is susceptible to mouth ulcers and other problems. There can be pain and tooth loss too. People with HIV could also face the problems of dry mouth, thrush, canker sores, ulcerative periodontitis, lesions on the tongue and cancer.
Oral problems during HIV can be painful. They could interfere with your HIV medication. There could be difficulty in chewing and swallowing. All of this could lead to malnutrition.
Cancer is caused by the uncontrolled multiplying of cells in any part of your body. It is a very serious condition. If not detected and treated in time, cancer could be fatal. Cancer affects the mouth, too. There are various types of oral cancer, including tongue cancer, cheek cancer, and throat cancer. However, cancer in any part of the body could affect your oral health. Cancer treatments like chemotherapy compromise your immune system. Your mouth could face bombardment from many unwanted germs. It is more susceptible to infection. If the severity of the infection is very high, it could interfere with the cancer treatment.
Radiotherapy, especially on the hand and arm, could cause oral issues like dry mouth or could even damage salivary glands and cause them to secrete thick, sticky saliva. Xerosis or dry mouth can cause tooth decay, infection, and cavities.
Osteoporosis is a condition in which bones become brittle and less dense and are more likely to fracture. Osteoporosis can affect any bone, though the most commonly affected bones are the hip bone, spine and wrist bones.
Osteoporosis is also directly linked with weaker oral health. The jawbone that supports and anchors teeth is affected. It loses density and results in tooth loss. This is a very common occurrence in older adults. Osteoporosis also causes conditions like periodontitis.
Practicing a good routine for maintaining oral hygiene and consulting your dentist regularly is a good way to maintain your overall health.
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