Article written by: Michelle Hankinson - Hygenist

Why looking after your oral health is essential to your wellbeing.

At the beginning of a New Year, many of us create resolutions or goals we wish to achieve. At the top of many people's list is to become healthier. The first few months of the year see a record number of gym memberships taken up and we endeavour to make smarter diet choices. However, having a healthy body does not stop with exercise and nutrition. There are many areas of the body to address to ensure it is functioning at optimum health. It is important to remember, for example, that your mouth is the gateway to the rest of your body.

Whatever is in your mouth enters your blood system, including decay-causing bacteria. There has been plenty of research into the relationship between oral health and its effects on the rest of the body. It makes sense that what a person ingests will result in a healthy body or an unhealthy one. However, many people don't think of their mouths in the pursuit of good health.

Poor oral health and gum disease are linked to many health conditions, such as pre-term low birth weight, cardiovascular disease and respiratory infections such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and pneumonia. Research continues into the effect oral bacteria and an unhealthy mouth has on the rest of the body, but the link has proven to be quite extensive. There have even been oral bacteria found in the lungs of those suffering respiratory infections.

Regular dental check-ups and hygiene appointments are important for maintaining oral health as well as general health. Almost everyone gets a build-up of bacteria in their mouth but with regular and correct brushing and flossing this can be minimised. Many people do not know the correct technique or the areas they are missing with their toothbrush. Bacteria become calcified after time and there is a need to have it professionally removed. This is why hygiene appointments are recommended every six months to maintain a healthy mouth.

Remember, the oral cavity is not separate from the rest of your body and can have a large impact on your overall health. By all means join the gym and eat better this year, but please don't forget about the rest of your body. You need good fuel in the way of nutritious food and a check-up and service every now and then.

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