The Australian Dental Association recently held its major oral health campaign, Dental Health Week. The campaign always takes place during the first week of August and highlights the importance of good oral care, and this year it focused on the close connection between oral health and overall health.
While Dental Health Week is great for raising awareness, we can’t help but feel that this important work should continue the entire year. We want to ensure you can always enjoy good oral health; dental education is an important part of this process. When people are well-informed about their dental health and its importance, they are much more motivated to properly look after their teeth and gums.
We thought we would review the messages of this year’s health week and how you can look after your teeth and gums between dental visits.
The Connection between Dental Health and Overall Health
Many people still think of their mouth as separate from the rest of their body, but this couldn’t be further from the truth. Numerous clinical studies over the past few years have shown the two are closely linked and that poor dental health can affect your general health.
The connection is due to bacteria in your mouth that cause gum disease, where the gums become inflamed, so they start to bleed more easily. The bleeding allows bacteria to migrate to other parts of your body, increasing the risk of overall inflammation. Thanks to research, we know that gum inflammation or gum disease is linked to heart disease, diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, respiratory illnesses and inflammatory bowel disease and can negatively affect pregnancy.
Unfortunately, gum disease and other dental conditions like tooth decay are common. Many people will develop gum disease or suffer from cavities and will lose teeth as a result. An important message that we want to convey is that these diseases are preventable with good oral care that continues year-round.
Caring for Your Dental and General Health
The connection between dental and general health is why we strongly recommend regular dental checkups and hygiene appointments. These checkups are important as the early signs of gum disease are often ‘silent’, meaning they cause few if any, symptoms that are easy to miss or ignore. When you visit our practice, we always assess your gum health extremely carefully, taking measurements that we check against previous records to detect any slight changes that could have occurred. Gum disease is very easy to treat during its early stages and is reversible before it can affect your general health.
Regular hygiene appointments are vital for strong, healthy gums, as we clean your teeth professionally, removing the harmful bacteria in plaque and tartar buildup. During your visits, we can work with you to ensure you know how to brush and floss thoroughly using the right techniques and tools. A good oral care routine takes less than ten minutes each day, and you’ll gain peace of mind knowing your smile looks good and that you are protecting your general health.