Maintaining oral health has become
even more important than what we thought we knew. Do you know that oral health can give us clues about our overall health? Similarly, poor oral health can affect our vital organs as well. We will discuss how healthy gums and disease-free tooth affect our health.

The human oral cavity contains more than 600 species of bacteria and most of them are harmless ones. It is a known fact that many of these bacteria are unique to each individual. Did you know that a human bite is as serious and as infectious as a dog bite? Some of these bacteria can cause disease also if they reach distant tissues where they normally should not be present. These harmful bacteria do not get a chance to proliferate due to the body’s defense mechanism and if the person has maintained good oral health from brushing and flushing. Our body’s defense in the oral cavity comes from the mucous membrane barrier and immunoglobulin. However, lack of proper oral care provides an environment for the proliferation of these harmful bacteria and they reach a level sufficient to cause dental caries and gum disease.

Studies have found correlations between oral bacteria and systemic diseases. Oral health might contribute to diseases such as endocarditis, cardiovascular disease, and pregnancy and birth complications, Alzheimer's disease, oral cancer, esophageal cancer, and pancreatic cancer. Studies have shown that oral bacteria are associated with propagation and metastasis of these cancer cells. Moreover, some bacteria are associated with a relapse of cancer by modifying the metabolic process of cancer cells that help them to escape the lethal effect of chemotherapy. There is a wide spectrum of diseases that can impact oral health negatively such as diabetes, HIV, osteoporosis, and Alzheimer's disease. Thus, it becomes important to maintain good oral health and here are some useful tips:

  1. Brush your teeth twice a day with a soft-bristled brush and fluoridated toothpaste.
  2. Floss daily, it removes impacted food between teeth and dental plaque as well.
  3. Eat a healthy diet and cut down food with added sugars.
  4. Replace your toothbrush every three months or sooner if bristles are splayed or worn.
  5. Schedule regular dental checkups and professional cleaning.
  6. Avoid tobacco use.
  7. Schedule an appointment with your dentist as soon as an oral health problem arises.

Dr Dilip Kumar Das B.D.S., F.A.G.E., M.D.S. is a Prosthondontist at the Vayodya Hospital, Balkhu.