How the health of your mouth is important for your overall health

Taking good care of your mouth, gums and teeth may decrease your risk of health issues such as a stroke, heart attack and poorly controlled diabetes. Bacteria can travel from the mouth and into the bloodstream which causes a disease called bacteraemia (bacteria in the blood).

Bacteraemia usually has no symptoms but sometimes the bacteria accumulate in certain organs or tissues which can lead to serious infections. Gingivitis develops when bacteria accumulate in the mouth.  In its early stages, gingivitis can be treated or even reversed. However, if left untreated, gingivitis can turn into more severe forms of periodontal disease and tooth loss.

Periodontal disease is a risk factor for the development of the following conditions:

Diabetes:  Oral infection has been linked to insulin resistance which leads to the development of Type 2 Diabetes.  Diabetic patients that have periodontal disease find it hard to control their blood sugar than diabetic patients with healthy gums.

Lung Disease:  Bacteria involved in gum disease sometimes travels through the air passages leading to the lungs which can cause lung infections.  Periodontal disease has also been associated with associated with other respiratory diseases such as pneumonia and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

Heart Disease:  Gum disease may lead to clogged arteries and the thickening of blood vessel walls. This can lead to heart disease, stroke, heart attacks and other heart diseases.

Digestive System Disease:  The mouth is the beginning of the digestive system, so bacteria can travel quite easily from there to other parts of the digestive system.  Periodontal disease and tooth loss have been linked to diseases of the digestive system such as ulcers and gastric cancers. 

Gert Coetzee, Pharmacist and Diet pioneer who founded The Diet Everyone Talks About says that for the abovementioned reasons, it is very important for us to keep our mouths healthy and clean.

Below he lists some foods that help with oral hygiene: 

Leafy Greens:  Leafy greens such as spinach and kale are not only full of minerals and vitamins, they also promote oral health.  They are high in calcium which is very good for your teeth.

Carrots:  Eating carrots increases saliva production which helps reduce your risk of cavities.  Carrots are not only full of fibre, but they are also a great source of vitamins.

Celery:  Eating celery is good for your oral health as it helps scrape off bacteria and food particles from your teeth. Celery is also a great source of vitamins A and C, two antioxidants that give your gums a health boost.

Garlic:  When it comes to food that cleans teeth naturally, raw garlic works wonders as it helps reduce bacteria.  This reduces plaque and promotes oral health and a healthy set of teeth.

Basil:  Basil is referred to as a natural antibiotic as it has properties that inhibit the growth of bacteria in the mouth.