It might seem self-serving to argue the case for the pivotal role oral health plays in laying the foundation for good general health. Logically, it makes sense for a dentist to suggest there’s a case for taking care of your teeth and gums. After all, isn’t it my job?
Well, to answer this question honestly, yes it is my job. But it’s also what I love to do. A big part of the work we do at Define Dental on the Gold Coast is helping people take good care of their oral health. But looking after a person’s teeth and gums is not just my job. It’s up to each person who wants to live well and thrive in good health to do their bit too. I call it personal responsibility and I think other Gold Coast dentists would feel the same way.
Our patients might wish the Tooth Fairy’s remit extended beyond tooth collection to personal care of teeth and gums, but in all my years of working as a Gold Coast dentist, I’ve never seen anything work better for good oral health than ‘owning’ it yourself.
I get it. Personal responsibility can feel like a drag. I mean daily brushing and flossing? Who needs it?
Well, when you understand the deeper connection between oral health and general health you might be slightly more prepared to shoulder your load.
Let me explain.
Consider the Magic of Your Mouth
That’s right: the magic of your mouth.
Have you ever really stopped and considered what a wonderful thing the mouth is? Let me guess. The answer to that question is uh, no.
And that’s fair enough. It’s not your business, right? That’s the domain of me, your local Benowa dentist. But here again, I’m going to lob that responsibility ball right back over the net. You should know a bit about your mouth too.
Like the fact that it’s a busy place. Believe it not, a lot goes on in the mouth. Apart from the fact that it’s one of the most intimate parts of our body and home to over 700 species of bacteria, it is also the receptor site for the food that nourishes us. There is no question, the mouth is integral to keeping us alive, but you may be surprised to know it fulfils another vital role.
The mouth is the start of a super highway. Acting like a gateway to the rest of the body, the mouth has a big job, keeping the bacteria living there (and in the rest of our body) in balance. When we don’t take good care – eating the right things, brushing, flossing, regularly visiting the dentist – our oral health gets out of balance. In dental health terms, we’re talking about tooth decay gum disease and functional health, which if unaddressed, can lead to other more serious, chronic – and in some cases, irreversible – oral health issues. I hate to say it, but the mouth is not like Vegas. Sadly, what happens in the mouth does not stay in the mouth.
Your Body is a Super Highway
Remember I said the connection between your mouth and the rest of your body is a highway? Because Define Dental has been around longer than just about any other Gold Coast dentists, I’m going out on a limb and using the analogy of the M1. Four lanes heading north from the Gold Coast (Vegas!) to Brisbane. Zipping along that highway is every vehicle imaginable. Truck, motorbikes, vans, utes, cars. If you can name it, you’ll see it. Sometimes the traffic runs smoothly, other times it’s congested, but eventually everybody takes an exit to a specific destination.
The bacteria in our body are like the traffic on the M1. Motoring at a metaphorical 110 on the clock, the various bacteria, good and bad, leave the mouth and move off to different locations around the body. Regardless of where they end up, each location, or environment demands a specific ratio of good bacteria to stay healthy. It follows that an oversupply of bad bacteria originating in our mouth affects our general health. And don’t be under the illusion that bad bacteria just suddenly show up. They live in our bodies regardless, but are kept in check by the guardians of good oral health – daily brushing and flossing, a healthy (reduced sugar) diet and plenty of water, and regular hygiene checks with your dentist.
Why Wouldn’t You Take Care of Your Oral Health?
That is the question. And the case for looking after your teeth and gums, now and in the future.
Your oral health – and general health – starts in your mouth. Notice I wrote ‘your mouth’, not ‘the mouth’. With a balance of healthy bacteria in the mouth, we set up the pathway to creating balance in the rest of the body. Equally, an acute or chronic mouth infection from poor oral hygiene and habits has the potential to stress your body’s immune system. Our general health is then set up to follow.
The fact is, the mouth is a high traffic area in the body requiring high maintenance care. It needs more than a cursory toss of the toothbrush on the odd occasion you think of it for disease to be avoided. A healthy mouth needs you, its owner, to take personal responsibility for its good care. While it’s entirely possible to shift your mouth and body back to health with help from your dentist, long term, restoring the balance and equilibrium is up to you.
Want to learn more about the connections between your oral health and general health? Book an appointment today at Define Dental to understand how to get the right balance when it comes to good oral health and habits.
Owned by Dr Les Jabbour, Define Dental is a Benowa dentist. As the Gold Coast’s premier dental practice providing quality dental care to local residents longer than any other, Define Dental has decades of experience of providing exceptional dental care for the local Gold Coast community. The team at Define Dental is experienced at working with patients to develop the tools and habits they need for good oral health, and would love to help you do that too. Call 5597 2100 to book an appointment.