Did you know?
For every $1 in preventive oral care can save $8-$50 in restorative and emergency treatments. (American Dental Hygienist Association, www. adha.org)
Oral health and overall health are closely related. So when you keep your teeth healthy, you are also helping to keep your body healthy.
Our mouths teem with bacteria — mostly harmless. Some of these bacteria can cause disease and since our mouths are the entry point to your digestive and respiratory tracts we should make sure our mouths are in good health.
Without good oral hygiene, bacteria can reach levels that may lead to oral infections like tooth decay and gum disease. However, good oral health care, such as daily brushing and flossing, and the bodies natural defenses keep bacteria under control.
Saliva washes food away and neutralizes acids produced by bacteria in our mouths, helping to protect us from microbes that multiply and lead to disease. But, decongestants, antihistamines, painkillers, diuretics, and antidepressants can reduce saliva flow and promote a breeding ground for bacteria to grow within your mouth.
Severe forms of gum disease (periodontitis) might play a role in some diseases. And certain illnesses, like diabetes and HIV/AIDS, can lower your body's resistance to infection which could lead to more severe issues.
Poor oral health may contribute to different types of diseases like:
Endocarditis; This infection of the inner lining of your heart chambers or valves typically occurs when bacteria or other germs from another part of your body, such as your mouth, spread through your bloodstream and attach to certain areas in your heart. Cardiovascular disease; Although the connection is not fully understood, research suggests that heart disease, clogged arteries and stroke might be linked to the inflammation and infections that oral bacteria may cause. Pregnancy and birth complications; Periodontitis has been linked to premature birth and low birth weight. Pneumonia; Certain bacteria in your mouth can be pulled into your lungs, causing pneumonia and other respiratory diseases.
According Mayo Clinic staff here are some recommendations to protect your oral health. Practice good oral hygiene daily.
- Brush your teeth at least twice a day with a soft-bristled brush using fluoride toothpaste.
- Floss daily.
- Use mouthwash to remove food particles left after brushing and flossing.
- Eat a healthy diet and limit food with added sugars.
- Replace your toothbrush every three months or sooner if bristles are splayed or worn.
- Schedule regular dental checkups and cleanings.
- Avoid tobacco use.
Also, contact your dentist as soon as an oral health problem arises. Taking care of your oral health is an investment in your overall health.
VISION (The following information comes from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
Eye diseases are common and often go unnoticed for a long time—some people have no symptoms at first. A comprehensive dilated eye exam by an optometrist or ophthalmologist (eye doctor) is necessary to find eye diseases in the early stages when treatment to prevent vision loss is most effective.
During the exam, visual acuity (sharpness), depth perception, eye alignment, and eye movement are tested. Eye drops are used to make your pupils larger so your eye doctor can see inside your eyes and check for signs of health problems. Your eye doctor may even spot other conditions such as high blood pressure or diabetes, sometimes before your primary care doctor does.
Early treatment is critically important to prevent some common eye diseases from causing permanent vision loss or blindness:
- Cataracts (clouding of the lens), the leading cause of vision loss in the United States
- Diabetic retinopathy (causes damage to blood vessels in the back of the eye), the leading cause of blindness in American adults
- Glaucoma (a group of diseases that damages the optic nerve)
- Age-related macular degeneration (gradual breakdown of light-sensitive tissue in the eye)
Of the estimated 61 million US adults at high risk for vision loss, only half visited an eye doctor in the past 12 months. Regular eye care can have a life-changing impact on preserving your vision and the vision of millions of people.
How often should I see an eye doctor?
- Children’s eyes should be checked regularly by an eye doctor or pediatrician. The US Preventive Services Task Force recommends vision screening for all children at least once between age 3 and 5 years to detect amblyopia or risk factors for the disease.
- People with diabetes should have a dilated eye exam every year.
- Some people are at higher risk for glaucoma and should have a dilated eye exam every 2 years:
- African Americans 40 years and older
- All adults older than 60, especially Mexican Americans
- People with a family history of glaucoma
Due to our aging population, the number of blind and visually impaired people in the United States is estimated to double by 2030. Taking care of your vision health as part of your overall health and wellness could significantly improve your quality of life.
The average person waits about 7 years from the time they notice difficulty hearing until they seek out help. Why wait? Our hearing connects us to those around us and it notifies us of our surroundings.
Research has shown hearing loss affects multiple facets of our daily lives it has even shown the correlation between hearing loss and cognitive decline such as dementia. Many view hearing loss as more of an inconvenience, but it stems to many common problems. Human behavior is very social and suffering hearing loss imposes on our ability to stay connected to the world around us. Hearing loss isn't limited to just old age. People of all ages experience hearing loss. That's why it's important to have your hearing tested
STUDIES HAVE ALSO LINKED UNTREATED HEARING LOSS TO:
- irritability, negativism and anger
- fatigue, tension, stress and depression
- avoidance or withdrawal from social situations
- social rejection and loneliness
- reduced alertness and increased risk to personal safety
- impaired memory and ability to learn new tasks
- reduced job performance and earning power
- diminished psychological and overall health