We typically associate oral problems with toothache and bad breath, but did you know that taking poor care of your teeth can also negatively affect your overall health?
Having good oral health can help reduce the risks of other health problems later in life, such as:

Sleep problems

Poor oral health can lead to disrupted sleep in some cases, whether it is through pain, worry or some other factor. Sleep problems can impact your daily productivity, causing mental and physical strain, disrupted education, lost work days and a heightened risk of being in road accidents. Snoring and choking symptoms may also suggest a sleep disorder such as obstructive sleep apnoea, a condition in which the throat becomes blocked during sleep.
Sleep apnoea has been linked to heart disease, high blood pressure, mood disorders and even diabetes, so it’s important to see a doctor if you think you have symptoms.

Heightened infection risk

Another reason why it’s important to take care of your teeth and gums is that not doing so may put your mouth at risk of infections, which may then enter your bloodstream and spread throughout your body. Without getting medical treatment, your risk of lower long-term health outcomes is raised. Did you know that oral conditions are the 3rd most common acute preventable reason for seeking hospitalisation in Australia?
You can avoid this by taking proper care of your mouth and by incorporating an annual dental check-up in your oral healthcare routine. Seek medical advice as soon as possible if you notice any unusual oral symptoms.

Poor nutrition

Infections, oral diseases and missing or damaged teeth can make it harder to chew and swallow normally. They can also cause pain and/or sensitivity whilst eating or drinking, which results in around 21% of Australian adults avoiding specific kinds of food or drink. This can impact one’s ability to consume a well-balanced diet. Studies have found that poor oral health is linked to lower intakes of vitamin C, vitamin A, folate and fibre.

Chronic headaches

Toothaches, teeth grinding habits and jaw disorders can all result in headaches and even jaw pain. Thankfully, these issues can be treated. Let your dentist know about your symptoms and concerns – they should be able to diagnose the problem and treat it accordingly. Treatments such as a mouthguard can help with a teeth grinding habit, for instance.
How to take care of your oral health
Looking after your teeth and gums doesn’t have to be hard. There are steps you can take now to make improvements in your oral health and to reduce your risk of further health problems.
Here are some things you can do to maintain good oral health:

  • Brush the teeth twice daily for two minutes using fluoride-based toothpaste
  • Replace toothbrushes every three months
  • Floss your teeth at least once a day
  • Avoid consuming sugary and/or acidic food or drink
  • Stay hydrated using fluoridated tap water
  • Get regular check-ups from your dentist.