Products Info|The surprising connection between oral health and general wellness


The surprising connection between oral health and general wellness

Why is a healthy mouth so important? 

Humans use their mouths for both biological and sociological purposes, says Canadian Dental Association president Heather Carr. 

“[A healthy mouth] allows you to smell and taste properly. You can chew without pain if your mouth is healthy; you can swallow properly,” Carr told Dr. Brian Goldman, host of CBC’s The Dose

“It allows you to convey emotions and improve your self-esteem.”

A full set of healthy teeth also allows us to communicate clearly, adds Morel. 

“Without certain front teeth, the sounds that we make with teeth come out as a lisping kind of sound,” she said. 

“The pressure of a bite should be ideally shared between a full set of teeth,” Morel said. “If there are multiple missing teeth, excess pressure is placed on the remaining teeth, and this can cause problems such as teeth mobility … [and] cracking and breaking of teeth.”

Greasy foods like fried chicken, sugary foods like candy and acidic foods like steak sauce can all degrade healthy teeth, and cause problems like cavities. 

Regularly consuming carbonated beverages like pop, as well as drinking lots of caffeinated and alcoholic drinks can harm our overall oral health. Not only do alcoholic and caffeinated drinks dry out the mouth, they’re also acidic and can cause tooth decay. 

Smoking, too, is a well known cause of poor oral health. 

The most common issues Carr sees are tooth decay and gum disease.

How do unhealthy teeth affect the rest of the body? 

Poor oral hygiene doesn’t just affect parts of the mouth like teeth and gums. High levels of oral bacteria can enter the bloodstream, leading to issues with the heart and lungs, she said. 

“In the most serious cases, if [bacteria] gets into the bloodstream, individuals get bacterial endocarditis,” said Carr, referring to a life-threatening inflammation of the inner lining of the heart’s valves and chambers. 

Additionally, some studies suggest that people with gum disease can also give birth to babies with low birth weight, or babies that arrive earlier than expected. 

“There is a proven relationship between oral and general health,” said Morel. 

Maria Salome Lomlomdjian is a Toronto-area dentist who specializes in providing inclusive dental care to patients with accessibility needs. 

She regularly treats patients who don’t eat with their mouths, but still need regular dental visits to clean their mouths and protect their overall health. 


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