Most people know that seeing a dentist regularly is good for oral health and the appearance of your smile. But not everyone knows that it can also improve your overall health. Oral health is more important than most people realize.
The Connection Between Oral Health and Overall Health
Oral health provides clues about your general health, and problems in the mouth can affect the entire body. The mouth is teeming with bacteria that are kept under control with good oral hygiene, including regular brushing and flossing. Without proper oral care, these bacteria can multiply and reach levels that can lead to infection, gum disease, and tooth decay.
Studies suggest that oral bacteria and inflammation associated with severe gum disease (periodontitis) may play a role in certain diseases. Conversely, diseases such as HIV and diabetes can reduce the body’s resistance to infection, worsening oral health problems.
Saliva neutralizes acids produced by bacteria and washes away food in the mouth. It helps protect against microbial overgrowth or invasion that can lead to disease. Certain types of medications can reduce saliva flow. These medications include:
Health Conditions that May Be Linked to Oral Health
Oral health problems may contribute to various conditions and diseases, including:
- Cardiovascular disease
- Premature birth and low birth weight
- Endocarditis (infection of the inner lining of the heart)
Diseases and conditions that may affect oral health include:
Other health conditions that may be linked to oral health include:
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Eating disorders
- Head and neck cancers
- Sjogren’s syndrome (immune system disorder that causes dry mouth)
How to Protect Your Oral Health
The best way to protect your oral health is to see your dentist regularly and practice good oral hygiene daily. This includes:
- Brushing twice a day with fluoride toothpaste
- Flossing daily
- Replacing your toothbrush when the bristles are frayed, or every three to four months
- Avoiding tobacco use
- Eating a healthy diet
- Limiting between-meal snacks
- Getting regular dental cleanings and checkups
Do You Need Dental Insurance?
Annual physicals and regular follow-ups with your physician are important to protect your overall health. As regular dental visits are equally important, it stands to reason that you and your family need dental insurance as well as health insurance.
What Does Dental Insurance Cover?
Dental insurance differs from plan to plan. The major differences between plans are what and how much they cover. However, most dental plans offer coverage for routine, preventative procedures, including:
- Dental cleanings (typically once or twice a year)
- Bite wing and panoramic X-rays
- Dental exams
How Much Does Dental Insurance Cost?
Costs of dental insurance can vary widely. Factors affecting the cost include location, the type of coverage, the type of provider (public or private), and overall dental health. Our experienced agency can help you find a dental insurance plan that suits your family’s needs at the best available rates.