Enyeribe Ejiogu ([email protected]com)
It is generally said that the eyes are the windows through which the body sees the world. In the same vein, the mouth is the main gate into the body. All nutrients needed to sustain the body come in through the mouth, under digestion and assimilation in the alimentary canal. While in the mouth, some food materials get masticated (chewed) to enable smooth swallowing and also aid the digestive process. For this and some other reasons, the buccal cavity, which refers to the specialised tissues and other parts that make up the mouth, can get infected with bacteria.
Interestingly, there are particular bacteria that live naturally in the mouth and help to keep it clean. Notwithstanding this, in certain situations, the activities of bacteria in the mouth can cause problems that could lead to some diseases. Today, it is now known the state of the mouth can give an early indication of a problem that can be detrimental to health.
Some studies have shown that people with gum disease are more likely have heart disease than those with healthy gums. When a person has gum disease accompanied by bleeding, bacteria may get into the blood vessels. This can lead to formation of plaque in the vessels, which would impeded the smooth flow of blood, thereby causing micro-clotting that can further cause blockage that in critical capillaries, reduce oxygen delivery to either the brain or heart muscle, which could result in stroke or heart attack Given this possibility and other reasons, some which are social it is important to take care of the mouth. Read more about the mouth and health of the body.
Gum disease and diabetes
Diabetes can reduce the body’s resistance to infection. Elevated blood sugars increase the risk of developing gum disease. What’s more, gum disease can make it harder to keep blood sugar levels in check. Protect your gums by keeping blood sugar levels as close to normal as possible. Brush after each meal and floss and rinse with an antiseptic mouthwash daily. See your dentist at least twice a year. Sometimes you dentists may want to see you more often.
Dry mouth and tongue cause tooth decay
Quite a number of people who suffer from Sjögren’s syndrome are more prone to have oral health problems, too.
As explained on the website of Mayo Clinic, Sjogren’s syndrome is a disorder of the immune system. It manifests with it two most common symptoms – dry eyes and a dry mouth. The condition often accompanies other immune system disorders, such as rheumatoid arthritis and lupus. In Sjogren’s syndrome, the mucous membranes and moisture-secreting glands of theeyes and mouth are usually affected first, resulting in decreased tears and saliva.
A person can develop Sjogren’s syndrome at any age, but most people often get diagnosed when they are older than 40 years. Research has shown that it is more common in women. In people who have Sjögren’s syndrome, the body’s immune system mistakenly attacks the tissues of the tear ducts and saliva glands, leading to chronically dry eyes and dry mouth (called xerostomia). Saliva helps protect teeth and gums from bacteria that cause cavities and gingivitis. So a perpetually dry mouth is more susceptible to tooth decay and gum disease.
Medications that cause dry mouth
Given that a chronically dry mouth raises risk of cavities and gum disease, you may want to check your medicine cabinet. Antihistamines, decongestants, painkillers, and antidepressants are among the drugs that can cause dry mouth. Talk to your doctor or dentist to find out if your medication regimen is affecting your oral health, and what you can do about it.
Stress and teeth grinding
If you are stressed, anxious, or depressed, you may be at higher risk for oral health problems. People under stress produce high levels of the hormone cortisol, which wreaks havoc on the gums and body. Stress also leads to poor oral care. More than 50 per cent of people don’t brush or floss regularly when stressed. Other stress-related habits include smoking, drinking alcohol, and clenching and grinding teeth
Osteoporosis and tooth loss
The brittle bone disease osteoporosis affects all the bones in your body, including your jaw bone, and can cause tooth loss. Bacteria from periodontitis, which is severe gum disease, can also break down the jaw bone. One kind of osteoporosis medication, bisphosphonates, may slightly increase the risk of a rare condition called osteonecrosis, which causes bone death of the jaw. This is usually only a concern after involved dental surgery. Tell your dentist if you take bisphosphonates.
Pale gums and anaemia
Your mouth may be sore and pale if you’re anaemic, and your tongue can become swollen and smooth (glossitis). When you have anaemia, your body doesn’t have enough red blood cells, or your red blood cells don’t contain enough haemoglobin. As a result, the body doesn’t get enough oxygen. There are different types of anaemia, and treatment varies. Talk to your doctor to find out what type you have and how to treat it.
Eating disorders rode tooth enamel
A dentist may be the first to notice signs of an eating disorder such as bulimia. The stomach acid from repeated vomiting can severely erode tooth enamel. Purging can also trigger swelling in the mouth, throat, and salivary glands as well as bad breath. Anorexia, bulimia, and other eating disorders can also cause serious nutritional shortfalls that can affect the health of your teeth.