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National Smile Month, which runs between the 16th of May and the 16th of June, is celebrating its 40th Birthday. The event, which was started by the Oral Health Foundation in 1977 aims to make a positive difference to the UK’s oral health by raising awareness of the important health issues that can be related to oral health.

 

 

 

When it comes to the benefits of oral health for your overall health, the old saying “the mouth is the window to the body” is very true. With so many advances in orthodontic devices and teeth straightening treatments, it’s no surprise that there is always a lot of focus on how our teeth look, but oral health is a subject that is less commonly talked about. National Smile Month aims to change this and make more people aware that the repercussions of poor health can go much further than the mouth.

By failing to clean our teeth properly on a daily basis or not visiting the dentist, the likelihood of gum disease is much increased. Strangely, whilst it’s hard to ignore if most parts of our body are bleeding or causing us discomfort, people regularly ignore bleeding, sore gums. However, gum disease and infections in the mouth can cause a number of problems in other parts of the body:

Diabetes:

Not only does research suggest that people with gum disease are more likely to develop diabetes, but diabetes sufferers also have a bigger risk of losing teeth and find that infections are more likely and heal slower.

Heart disease:

People with poor oral health are much more likely to suffer from coronary artery disease than people with healthy teeth and gums. Bacteria from diseased gums can get into your bloodstream; as this bacteria produces protein, this can lead to the platelets in the blood sticking together in the blood vessels. If blood flow is badly affected by clots as a result of bacteria from the mouth, in severe cases, this can lead to a heart attack.

Strokes:

Evidence from a number of studies suggest that there is a link between gum disease and strokes. Blood clots resulting from proteins created by bacteria in the bloodstream can block the blood supply to the brain, in some cases resulting in a stroke. Statistics show that people that have suffered a stroke are more likely to have suffered from gum disease than people who have not.

Lung disease:

It is thought that bacterial chest infections are caused by breathing in droplets from the mouth and throat into the lungs. People with gum disease are therefore more likely to suffer from chest infections, as well as more serious resulting problems, such as pneumonia.

Dementia and Alzheimer’s disease:

Recent studies have suggested that people with fewer teeth have a higher risk of experiencing memory loss, or even early-stage Alzheimer’s. This loss of teeth could be linked to gum disease and infections that may release chemicals to increase brain inflammation.

People that wear braces should take extra special care of their teeth to avoid gum disease, carefully cleaning the teeth at least twice a day around the brackets and wires of fixed orthodontic appliances. For more information on caring for your teeth and braces, you can call Oldham Orthodontics on 0161 622 0987 or email info@oldhamorthodontics.co.uk.