Skip to Main Content

Pickering Smiles Blog

How does dental hygiene affect your overall health?

Excellent oral hygiene goes a long way toward keeping your mouth healthy, preventing gum disease and tooth decay. Today, our Pickering dentists explain how a healthy mouth can contribute to better health and well-being.

If you practice excellent oral hygiene, we can reasonably predict better dental health outcomes. This means you'll be more likely to keep your teeth as you age if you have good oral hygiene habits. Since dental health can impact general physical well-being, maintaining good oral hygiene practices can positively impact your oral health.

A Healthy Salivary Flow

Bet you didn't know that saliva can be a helpful diagnostic tool. As unappealing as it can be to think about, it can help dentists and doctors to identify and diagnose systemic diseases, sometimes even before symptoms appear. 

Saliva can also help disable bacteria and viruses before they get into your system. Saliva is actually one of the body's main defenses against organisms that cause disease. 

Our saliva has antibodies that attack viral pathogens, such as the common cold and even HIV. It also contains enzymes which eliminate bacteria in several different ways, for instance by degrading bacterial membranes, interrupting vital bacterial enzyme systems, and disrupting growth and metabolism of some bacteria. 

Maintaining a healthy salivary flow is quite easy for most people - it's critical to stay hydrated. Make sure to drink plenty of water during the day to maintain a healthy salivary flow.

Dental Plaque & Infection

Your mouth houses over 500 species of bacteria that are constantly forming dental plaque, a sticky, colourless film that clings to your teeth and causes a variety of health problems.

If you don’t brush and floss your teeth regularly and thoroughly, you’re allowing dental plaque to build up between your gums and teeth, eventually leading to a gum infection called gingivitis. Left unchecked, gingivitis can lead to a more serious infection called periodontitis (gum disease).

If you have periodontitis, simply undergoing a dental treatment or just brushing your teeth can provide a port of entry for the abundant bacteria in your mouth to enter your bloodstream.

If your immune system is healthy, the presence of oral bacteria in your bloodstream will not cause problems. However, if it has been weakened, for example by a disease or by cancer treatment, oral bacteria in your bloodstream may cause you to develop an infection in another part of your body.

Infective endocarditis, which is when oral bacteria enter the bloodstream and stick to the lining of diseased heart valves, is an example of this.

Dental Plaque’s Link to Common Conditions

Having a healthy mouth may help you ward off certain diseases and medical problems such as stroke, heart attack, complications related to diabetes, and even pre-term labour.

Poorly Controlled Diabetes

Chronic gum disease may make diabetes more difficult to control. The infection may cause insulin resistance, which can disrupt blood sugar control.

Cardiovascular Disease

Bacteria in the mouth may cause inflammation throughout the body, including the arteries, meaning gingivitis may play a role in clogged arteries and blood clots.

In addition, gum disease and tooth loss may contribute to the development of plaques in the carotid artery.

Your oral health is often closely connected to your body's overall health. If you’d like help improving your oral hygiene routine to better your overall health, please contact our Pickering dentists to schedule an appointment today.

Our Pickering dentists are accepting new patients.

Looking for a dentist in Pickering? You're in the right place! 

Request Appointment

(905) 839-4427