Oral and overall health are closely related, so good overall health is unattainable without having a healthy mouth. According to Mayo Clinic, some research has linked oral health to many other health conditions. Good oral health is also a major factor in socializing successfully with others. There are at least four major reasons why good oral health is crucial to living a happy, healthy life.
1. Oral infections and overall health
Oral infection is the most prevalent disease on Earth, and many do not realize that oral infections, especially periodontitis, are closely related to heart health. The National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) cites a significant relationship between oral infection and atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (CVD). Cardiovascular disease accounts for a staggering 33 percent of all deaths in the United States, so maintaining good oral health is an important factor in preventing the country’s deadliest disease.
In addition to CVD, oral infections have been linked to other serious conditions. Atherosclerosis, diabetes mellitus, bacterial pneumonia, and low birth weight have all been linked to oral infections.
2. Dental problems and pain
Of all ailments, oral problems are known to be some of the most painful, and most preventable, health conditions. Tooth pain can range from nagging to unbearable, so even mild tooth pain should never be ignored. The most common causes of tooth pain include:
- Tooth damage
- Tooth decay
- Gum disease
The onset of dental pain serves as a kind of bodily warning. It generally starts with cavities, which are small holes in the teeth caused by bacteria that eats its way through the enamel, which is the tooth’s natural protective coating. Cavities signal individuals that they need to step up their oral care. Dentists can fill cavities relatively easily, but more will surely develop without significant changes in an individual’s oral care routine.
Most people believe that their oral care routine is adequate, but many of them are wrong. A survey published by Delta Dental found that only 70 percent of Americans brush their teeth twice per day, and at least 30 percent of those do not brush long enough. It is recommended that people brush twice per day for at least two minutes on each side, but on average, most Americans brush for just under two minutes total. Additionally, nearly 40 percent of Americans floss less than once per day.
To avoid serious dental problems and mouth pain, people should visit a dentist at least twice per year as recommended by the American Dental Association (ADA). People living in the Portland/Vancouver area who do not currently have a dentist or are unsatisfied with their current dental office can visit Columbia River Dentistry and easily schedule an appointment.
As much as people try to avoid it, Americans live in an inherently judgmental society, and the condition of one’s mouth and teeth is nearly impossible to hide. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), dental health impacts people on both physical and psychological levels, and nine out of 10 pre-adolescents stated an “impact related to oral health.” Oral health is a major component of positive self-esteem and self-image. Bad breath is also a common side effect of poor oral care and considered generally unattractive by all.
4. Costs associated with oral care
Dental work can be very expensive, and many Americans are either underinsured or are lacking dental insurance altogether. According to a recent USA Today publication, about 74 million Americans have no dental insurance. That is nearly one-quarter of the entire U.S. population.
Likewise, those with dental coverage are finding that it does not go very far. For example, the average total cost of conventional braces is about $5,000, but many dental plans allow for a lifetime coverage limit of only $1,000 for braces. The average cost of a root canal procedure is between $700 and $900, and there is a good chance that one’s dental plan will not cover the entire expense. This is another good reason to be diligent about oral care; when people allow minor problems to snowball into larger ones, it impacts their finances as well as their health.
Oral health is important, and neglecting it is dangerous. Poor oral health can easily lead to pain and serious chronic conditions such as cardiovascular disease. In addition to physical consequences, neglecting oral health can also lead to psychological ones, making it that much harder to have confidence and build good social relationships. There is also considerable financial strain associated with the neglect of oral care, and a lot of people will not be able to rely on their dental insurance to cover it.