Oral health is one of the most overlooked aspects of our overall health. Some see it as purely aesthetic, only concerning themselves with pearly white teeth. However, it is essential to note that oral health is a most experienced problem (read more) in Latin America, especially in Mexico. There, Dental Caries is one of the most common oral health problems among children and teenagers. This condition happens to children whose families have limited resources.
Studies also show that our oral health can leave hints about our overall bodily health if we look into it closer. After all, your mouth is the first entry point of food and a myriad of bacteria, which all lead to several systems in the body, including the brain (nervous system), the heart (cardiovascular system), and the most important in this day and age of the pandemic, the lungs (respiratory system). Arm yourself with information about the connection of all of these systems.
Overall Bodily Health & Oral Health
The first line of defense of a body is its mouth and tonsils. If you think tonsils aren’t good for anything (since they’re usually removed), that’s where you’re wrong. These tissue masses trap the bacteria that are about to enter your body through the many antibodies they have in said tissues. If you’re thinking of taking away these useful masses, reconsider and save your body many diseases freely entering it!
To prevent giving tonsils a lot of work, daily brushing and flossing are imperative for a healthy oral cavity. However, if these routines aren’t done enough, bacteria can overtake the oral cavity and form a reservoir for diseases to start and grow. Tooth decay and gum diseases are some examples of these problems. Your local Dentista may advise you to brush twice a day and floss. However, take note that overbrushing can also lead to gum and teeth break down.
Medications such as decongestants, antihistamines, antidepressants, etc., can disrupt saliva production, which inhibits the flushing out of bacteria. If you’re worried about these bacteria possibly causing a disease in your stomach as you swallow your saliva, fear not. Your stomach acid, or Hydrochloric Acid, is a healthy secretion that can quickly kill these bacteria upon arriving in your stomach.
Several studies are suggesting that oral health can be directly related to some diseases. Periodontitis or an infection in the gums (link: https://www.nidcr.nih.gov/health-info/gum-disease/more-info) is one oral condition itself near to other sicknesses. Having Periodontitis untreated for a long time can leave you vulnerable to several diseases, like Diabetes, Heart diseases, or respiratory illnesses.
How To Take Good Care Of Your Teeth And Gums
- Visit your doctor annually, even if you don’t experience any pain or have dentures. This is to ensure your teeth are still in perfect conditions and that none of them have the possibility of rotting or being knocked off.
- Smoking Tobacco can weaken the teeth. Quit smoking immediately to avoid further damage.
- If you have underlying diseases like Diabetes, drink your medicine on time/get your insulin shots on the dot. Stick to a good, well-balanced diet. Having this disease can highly increase your chance of getting gum diseases.
- Change your toothbrush regularly, or after three months. If you got sick, change it immediately, especially you had tonsillitis. If you noticed your toothbrush is already worn, that could also be a valid reason to change. Having a worn toothbrush won’t effectively clean your teeth and leave some plaque and food bits behind.
- Hydrate regularly, as water can fight bacteria and wash them out of the mouth. It can also leave your mouth moist and counter bad breath.
Nutrition And Oral Health
You might think nutrition has nothing to do with your oral health, but that’s another lesson you will learn in this article.
Dental caries is also known as tooth decay. The most common image we have of tooth decay is always associated with cake, candies, soda, and other sweets. The commercials and flyers weren’t wrong. Sugar does cause tooth decay.
Straightforward sugars you get from processed sweets and desserts are all laden with sugar. What’s worse about these types of sugars other than decaying our teeth, is we don’t get any nutritional value from it—at all!
This type of food can come in the form of potatoes, rice, beans, or bread. These contain some nutritional value, given they aren’t processed, pre-packed, or in cans. Starches cause lower tooth decay incidences, though if added with simple sugars, it increases the possibility significantly. It is recommended to take as little starch as possible, especially if it isn’t your primary energy source.
Fruits contain fructose and sucrose, two types of sugars that are metabolized slower due to their fibrous nature. They are preferable if you’re craving sweet things, so ditch that candy bar for some grapes instead.
However, fruits become just as bad as candies and cakes. When they’re dried, they turn cariogenic and high in sugar. Sugars are also added to this during the manufacturing processes, canceling out its healthy nature in the first place.
Food that is high in fiber is known to be good for the body. They also contain some natural sugars that aren’t harmful to the teeth and gums. These can be fresh fruits and vegetables. They also have minerals and added vitamins, so above everything mentioned before this, high-fiber food is preferable to maintain good oral health.
Food That Fights Against Decay
We all know that cheese is packed with calcium, and calcium is necessary for bodily health. It strengthens our bones and teeth (check it out), allows our blood to clot, and lessens acidity after a sugary snack. Acidity is what breaks down the integrity of our enamel, causing weaker teeth. However, be sure to take in phosphorus, as this is a crucial mineral to absorb and metabolize calcium.
This is also rich in calcium, but it has added elements, such as casein and phosphorus. On top of that, it contains lactose, a type of sugar that doesn’t promote decaying as extensive and damaging as other simpler sugars.
Chocolate has the potential to prevent the decaying of the teeth. However, chocolate bars and processed chocolate, even dark ones, don’t have the compound with anti-decay properties.