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Healthy Mouth, Healthy Body

We have long associated oral health with tooth decay and gum disease. There is now growing evidence that the state of oral health has a strong link to other health conditions such as premature and low birth weight babies, cardiovascular disease, respiratory disease and diabetes. Researchers believe that the build-up of oral bacteria through poor oral hygiene practices can lead to serious health concerns.

How does what goes on in your mouth affect what goes on in the rest of your body? The transportation system inside the body is the blood. The bacteria related to gum disease and their by-products can hitch a ride in the small blood vessels and travel through the blood system to other parts of the body. This can present a problem, particularly for people with compromised immune systems or established disease.

The key is prevention. Less than five minutes twice a day is all it takes to maintain or improve oral hygiene.

This may be easier for some to accomplish than others. Physical restrictions or disabilities may make oral care difficult or impossible. Care providers must be sure that brushing and flossing is part of the daily routine for those unable to manage on their own. It is never too early - or too late - to develop good oral habits.