Impact of oral health on general health

Is oral health linked to overall health?

Oral health has several effects on overall health. Several systemic diseases, on the other hand, can be manifested in the mouth. Taking care of oral hygiene does not only promote oral health, but also overall health.

Poor mouth care may weaken the balance of care in various diseases, such as cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis and many chronic diseases. Careful oral hygiene and regular checkup visits are the foundation of preventive care.

When are antibiotics necessary before treatment?

When there are untreated bacterial colonies in the mouth, bacteria also spread to other parts of the body through the bloodstream. Dental care procedures that involve puncturing the mucosa in particular may cause bacteremia, the presence of bacteria in the blood. Bacteremia can cause problems to people with heart diseases, such as a congenital heart defect, heart valve disorder, artificial valve or a history of endocarditis, an infection of the heart's inner lining. In order to prevent the spreading of bacteria into the bloodstream, antibiotics are administered before the procedure. Medication is also necessary in situations where the body's own defenses function poorly or have been suppressed by medications. Antibiotic prophylaxis is required by diabetics with poorly controlled diabetes, organ transplant patients, people with severe rheumatism and people who have recently undergone joint replacement surgery.

When is taking care of oral hygiene particularly important?

Heart diseases

Cardiovascular diseases and oral health are known to be linked. Poor oral health may even promote atherosclerosis (buildup of plaque inside the arteries) and increase the risk of myocardial infarction. Taking care of oral hygiene is vital to people with heart disease and in preventing heart disease. Oral infections must be treated without delay to stop them from spreading. Antibiotics before a procedure are particularly recommended for people with a congenital heart defect, heart valve disorder, artificial valve or history of endocarditis.

Diabetes

Good oral hygiene is particularly important also in diabetes. The better one's oral health, the better diabetes control and vice versa. Gum diseases are often more common in people with diabetes. When the flow of saliva is reduced, teeth are also more prone to decay. Effective home care and frequent checkups keep both oral infections and diabetes under control. Antibiotics are necessary if diabetes is poorly under control.

Organ transplant patients

Organ transplant patients' defense system functions poorly due to heavy medication. The patient's mouth must be completely healthy before and after organ transplantation. All infections of dental origin are potentially fatal when the body's own defense system is suppressed. Organ transplant patients require antibiotic prophylaxis before treatment in many cases.

Rheumatoid arthritis

Treatment for rheumatoid arthritis also involves immunosuppressant medications. In addition, people with rheumatoid arthritis often suffer from reduced flow of saliva. Their teeth are prone to dental decay due to dry mouth. In order to prevent oral infections from spreading to the joints, particular attention should be paid to keeping the teeth clean. It is a good idea to visit the dentist several times a year.

Taking care of oral hygiene rigorously is also important in other chronic diseases. Particular attention should be paid to oral health during pregnancy, too.

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