Importance of Oral Health for Overall Wellbeing

Importance of Oral Health for Overall Wellbeing

Your mouth is an early indicator of many health conditions, and having a beautiful and strong smile can enhance your quality of life. Brushing twice daily, flossing daily and eating a balanced diet as well as visiting the dentist for regular check-ups are all vital parts of maintaining oral hygiene and improving its condition.

But some determinants of health that we cannot directly influence and have an unequal impact are known as structural and intermediate determinants of health.

Physical Health

Maintaining good oral hygiene – brushing twice daily with fluoride toothpaste, flossing daily, and refraining from tobacco use – is the cornerstone of a healthy mouth, and also an integral component of overall wellness and well-being.

Practice good oral hygiene to alleviate stress and enhance quality of life, both by preventing tooth decay and gum disease as well as by alleviating discomfort related to dental pain or avoidance of social situations due to embarrassment – this leads to reduced ability to communicate and interact, impacting one’s quality of life in turn.

The factors affecting oral health can have far-reaching ramifications on individuals, families, communities and nations alike. More and more, these determinants are being recognized as contributing to overall health status (Peres et al. 2019). They include factors like:

Mental Health

Your mental wellbeing is just as essential to overall wellbeing as physical wellbeing. A positive outlook on life is key for maintaining both emotional and physical wellness; additionally, it increases productivity and gives you energy for community involvement.

Oral diseases ranging from dental caries (tooth decay) and periodontal disease to tooth loss and oral cancers are preventable but still pose a considerable global health burden, leading to pain, suffering, disability and ultimately even death.

Oral health is inextricably tied to overall body wellbeing. Studies demonstrate how infections in the mouth can spread via bloodstream infections to other parts of your body and lead to serious conditions, including heart disease and stroke. Furthermore, stress and anxiety can decrease saliva production, increasing your risk of cavities; and certain antidepressant and antianxiety drugs can cause dry mouth leading to gum disease.

Emotional Health

Oral health issues like cavities and gum disease can have profound repercussions on one’s quality of life, not only due to pain and embarrassment but also because they can have serious systemic ramifications like heart disease, diabetes and respiratory infections.

Poor oral health can result in missed work, school and daily activities (similar to that caused by musculoskeletal problems), altered eating patterns and nutrition absorption, potentially leading to malnutrition.

Structured determinants of health refers to factors outside an individual’s control that influence their health status, such as money distribution among nations or localities; intermediate determinants include consumption of foods, beverages or substances which promote or hinder wellbeing; while formal measures of health status (for instance standardized tests for influenza or tuberculosis).

Social Health

Good oral health is crucial to normal human functions such as speaking, smiling, tasting, chewing and swallowing; as well as contributing to self-image, emotional well-being and financial prosperity. Many believe that one cannot truly be healthy without excellent oral health (Koop 1993).

Oral diseases disproportionately impact subgroups with limited financial resources, low educational attainment levels and access to dental care as well as lower social status and power in society, which results in identifiable disparities and inequities within the United States.

Social Determinants of Health (SDoH) refers to those factors which shape behaviors and environments which promote or damage health at an early age and which are determined by both positive and negative life circumstances. Policy interventions addressing SDoH can improve population health while decreasing disparities and inequality – this includes issues like education, employment, housing, income, food & beverage consumption, transportation spending & public health spending as well as their influence over individual determinants of health.

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