May 27, 2024

unic power

health life

Your mouth is gross; brush your teeth or suffer all sorts of problems

3 min read
With poor and inconsistent oral hygiene, bacteria can reach levels that may cause tooth decay, oral infection and gum disease.

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Q: My father-in-law refuses to go to the dentist.

Will you tell him why maintaining good oral hygiene is important?

He reads this column but won’t listen to me.

A: Many people don’t realize the health of your mouth, teeth and gums can affect your general health.

Your mouth harbors bacteria, just like many other parts of your body.

Most of the bacteria is harmless and can be kept under control with proper brushing and flossing and your body’s normal defenses.

But with poor and inconsistent oral hygiene, the bacteria can reach levels that may cause tooth decay, oral infection and gum disease.

Previous three One Senior Place columns:

Know your options:Assisted living vs. memory care: which level of care do you need?

Take it to the bank:Financial advisors can help you save more, invest wisely or reduce debt

Long Term Planning:One Senior Place: Options for health care surrogates for those without close family

Lisa Conway, RN, is a Certified Care Manager for One Senior Place in Viera.

Certain medications such as antihistamines, antidepressants, decongestants, painkillers and diuretics can decrease the production of saliva in the mouth.

Saliva helps to wash away food and neutralizes acids that are produced by bacteria that can cause infection and illness. 

As saliva decreases, the risk of infection or illness increases.

Some medical conditions and diseases have been linked to oral health. 

  • Diabetes results from insufficient production of insulin — and it increases a person’s risk of infection. Gum disease is more frequent and more severe in people with diabetes.  Diabetes patients with gum disease have a more difficult time controlling their blood sugar levels.
  • Osteoporosis is a weakening of the bones. This weakening can cause periodontal bone loss and even tooth loss.
  • Endocarditis is an infection of the inner lining of your heart chambers or endocardium. It may occur when bacteria from other parts of your body, often the mouth, enters the bloodstream. Patients with certain heart conditions may be prescribed an antibiotic prior to dental procedures.

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