How does dental hygiene affect your overall health?

Posted Sep 27th, 2018

How does dental hygiene affect your overall health?

Good oral hygiene helps you keep your mouth healthy, preventing dental decay and gum disease. Here, our North York dentist Dr. Davide Amato explains how a healthy mouth is good for your overall health, too.


Practicing good oral hygiene is key to maintaining oral health, and keeping your teeth as you age. But research has shown that good oral hygiene can have a positive effect on the health of the rest of your body as well.

A Healthy Salivary Flow

Saliva is a helpful diagnostic tool, in that it can help doctors and dentists to identify and diagnose systemic diseases before their symptoms become apparent.

In addition, saliva can help disable bacteria and viruses before they enter your system. In fact, saliva is one of your body’s main defences against disease-causing organisms.

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

Keeping your salivary flow healthy is quite easy for most people. They key is to stay hydrated! Make sure you drink plenty of water throughout 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 blood stream.

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.

As you can see, your oral health is closely tied to the health of the rest of your body. If you’d like to improve your oral hygiene routines for your overall health, please contact our North York dentists for an appointment today.


Take A Tour!


New on the Blog:

4 signs that you need to have your wisdom teeth removed

Aug 7th, 2018

When wisdom teeth grow in, they can cause a variety of problems for your other teeth, and your oral health in general. Here, our North York dentists describe four signs that you might need to have your wisdom teeth removed.

How often should I visit the dentist as an adult?

Jul 3rd, 2018

The frequency of your visits to the dentist depends on a variety of oral health factors. Your dentist at Sheppard Yorkland Dental in North York will let you know how often you should visit out office during your appointment.

Questions about your dental health? Ready to book your appointment?

Call our caring, professional team at Sheppard Yorkland Dental today.

Get Started