(MayoClinic.com) Did you know that your oral health can offer clues about your overall health? Or that problems in your mouth can affect the rest of your body? Understand the intimate connection between oral health and overall health and what you can do to protect yourself.
Your mouth is teeming with bacteria — most of them harmless. Normally the body's natural defenses and good oral health care, such as daily brushing and flossing, can keep these bacteria under control. However, harmful bacteria can sometimes grow out of control and cause oral infections, such as tooth decay and gum disease. In addition, dental procedures, medications, or treatments that reduce saliva flow, disrupt the normal balance of bacteria in your mouth or breach the mouth's normal protective barriers may make it easier for bacteria to enter your bloodstream.What conditions may be linked to oral health?
Your oral health may affect, be affected by or contribute to various diseases and conditions, including:
Be sure to tell your dentist if you're taking any medications or have had any changes in your overall health — especially if you've had any recent illnesses or you have a chronic condition.How can I protect my oral health?
To protect your oral health, resolve to practice good oral hygiene every day. For example:
Also, watch for signs and symptoms of oral disease and contact your dentist as soon as a problem arises. Remember, taking care of your oral health is an investment in your overall health.
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