How does Oral Hygiene affect Chronic Health?
Admittedly, I have been very negligent of my oral health and dental visits. I have been promising myself for a couple of years (eight to be exact) that I will get my dental needs sorted.
By Cindy Pivacic.
At the end of last year, I took the fearful and overdue leap and went to an Oral Health Centre.
My initial visit was a quick check-up to evaluate which department I should be sent to in order to set up appointments. I had four scheduled departments to visit and managed to get on their list prior to shutting for the holidays (Oct – end Jan) as a potential ‘diagnostic case.’ This procedure entails a final year student performing all the required actions from beginning to end of the diagnosed dental procedures.
Maintaining good oral hygiene is important for everyone, but it is especially crucial for individuals with chronic conditions. Chronic conditions such as HIV, diabetes, and heart disease can have negative impacts on a person’s oral health, and conversely, poor oral health can worsen the symptoms of these conditions. In this blog, we will explore how oral hygiene affects someone with each of these chronic conditions.
HIV is a condition that weakens the immune system, making individuals more susceptible to infections. Poor oral hygiene can lead to a number of oral health issues, including gum disease, tooth decay, and oral thrush, which is a fungal infection of the mouth. These issues can be particularly problematic for individuals with HIV, as they can lead to further weakening of the immune system and other complications. Practicing good oral hygiene, including brushing twice a day, flossing daily, and visiting the dentist regularly, can help prevent these issues and improve overall health.
Diabetes is a chronic condition that affects how the body processes glucose, a type of sugar. High levels of glucose in the blood can lead to a number of health issues, including gum disease. Conversely, gum disease can make it more difficult to control blood sugar levels. Additionally, individuals with diabetes may experience dry mouth, which can increase the risk of tooth decay and other oral health issues. To prevent these issues, individuals with diabetes should practice good oral hygiene, monitor their blood sugar levels, and visit the dentist regularly.
Heart disease is a condition that affects the heart and blood vessels. Poor oral hygiene can lead to gum disease, which has been linked to an increased risk of heart disease. The bacteria in the mouth can enter the bloodstream and cause inflammation, which can lead to the build-up of plaque in the arteries. This can increase the risk of heart attacks and strokes. Practicing good oral hygiene, including brushing twice a day, flossing daily, and visiting the dentist regularly, can help prevent gum disease and lower the risk of heart disease.
I have no doubt that the fact that I am HIV positive and have neglected my oral health and has contributed to my heart disease to some degree. I currently have a couple of infections that I partly attribute to my oral neglect. I am trying to rectify the situation by being more conscientious in my oral health. I encourage you to do the same.
In conclusion, good oral hygiene is important for everyone, but it is particularly crucial for individuals with chronic conditions such as HIV, diabetes, and heart disease. Poor oral hygiene can intensify the symptoms of these conditions and lead to further complications.
By practicing good oral hygiene, including brushing twice a day, flossing daily, and visiting the dentist regularly, individuals can improve their overall health and reduce the risk of oral health issues and other complications.
A chronic condition can affect anyone. How you manage it is what makes the difference.
You can get cover of up to 3 million rand for your chronic health condition and up to 10 million if you are living with HIV.
SMS CHRONIC to 33857 to find out more.
Disclaimer: The information in this article is intended for educational purposes only. It is not intended to diagnose, treat or cure, and is not a substitute for professional consultation with a health professional.
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