Oral health warning: Deadly conditions linked to poor dental hygiene – what to look for

Our oral health offers clues about our overall health. Like other areas of the body, the mouth teems with bacteria and is the entry point to many of our most vital organs. Without proper oral hygiene, bacteria can reach levels that might lead to infections or diseases. Knowing what to look out for and knowing the correct way of keeping your mouth clean is vital for overall good health.

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Dr Richard Marques at Dr Richard Clinics in London said: “Oral health is very important for overall health of your body.

“This is because it is an entry to your bloodstream and your digestive system.

“Many people also describe the mouth as a mirror of your health as when you have health problems it can show first in the mouth.

“Your mouth can reveal signs of periodontal disease, diabetes and nutritional deficiencies.”

Asked about the major warning signs one should look out for when checking your mouth, Dr Marques advised: “Bleeding gums are a big sign as this indicates gum problems such as periodontal.

“A red or sore tongue can be a sign of a vitamin deficiency including vitamin B2, B3 and B12. White patches can be a sign of lichen planus which is an autoimmune condition or even a fungal infection known as candida albicans.

“Swelling can be a sign of a dental abscess or swollen salivary glands. Ulcers are painful conditions which can be a result of trauma but also low immune system as ulcers occurs when a person is run down.

“Oral cancer a very rare cases that can occur with some people, especially in heavy smokers and heavy drinkers.

“This is why you should always have these patches checked by a dentist, doctor or specialist.”

Asked about what diseases could be spread due to poor mouth health, Dr Marques said: “There can be entry of bacteria into the bloodstream.

“This occurs when there is poor gum health.

“Cardiovascular health can also be greatly affected as bacteria in the bloodstream can lead to increased risk of heart disease and stroke.”

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Dr Marques offers his top tips for keeping your teeth and mouth clean. He said: “Brushing should be twice daily ideally with an electric toothbrush which monitors time and brushing strength.

“Brush with small circular motions or vibrations which are the recommended movement when brushing.

“There also needs to be interdental cleaning which is cleaning between the teeth.

“Water and air flossing machines are also popular as they are another way to clean between teeth for excellent gum health.

“You should visit the dentist every three to six months with six monthly visits being recommended for regular checkups.

Three month cleanings are recommended for smokers or those with gum problems.

“Some patients may be able to have yearly visits if hey have very good dental health or very few teeth for instance.

“Regular dental visits are important for your teeth and gum health and to check the oral tissues for signs of your overall health.”

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