The Link Between Oral Health and General Health – the case for action
Oral health is fundamental to overall health, wellbeing and quality of life.
A healthy mouth enables people to eat, speak and socialise without pain, discomfort or embarrassment. The impact of oral disease on people’s everyday lives is subtle and pervasive, influencing eating, sleep, work and social roles. Dental disease can also lead to destruction of soft tissues in the mouth, leading to lasting disability and, in rare cases, death. The prevalence and recurrences of these impacts constitutes a silent epidemic.
It is essential to protect natural teeth from decay and periodontal disease, and focus on early detection and prevention of these conditions. Evidence clearly demonstrates that these diseases are not just limited to the mouth, but importantly are linked to general health overall.
Oral health and general health are related in four major ways:
- Poor oral health is significantly associated with major chronic diseases
- Poor oral health causes disability
- Oral health issues and major diseases share common risk factors
- General health problems may cause or worsen oral health conditions.
The image below illustrates how your oral health affects different organs in the body.
Oral inflammation plus risk factors such as stress, pregnant/ nursing mothers, any form of tobacco use, personal and/ or family history of: diabetes, heart attack, stroke, cancer, heart disease, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, heart murmur, gum disease, heavy alcohol drinkers and medications that result in a dry mouth puts your body at risk.
Just as your oral health can affect your general health, the reverse is also true. Any chronic or acute medical conditions, as well as the use of medications can affect the health of your mouth.
At Dentists at Pymble, our objective is to monitor your oral health and identify risk factors. This helps us to treat disease and maintain your health leading to an improved quality of life.