National Smile MonthIt’s that time of year again! National Smile Month is coming up on 13th May, running through to 13th June. The Oral Health Foundation’s annual charity campaign is all about championing the benefits of good oral health and a healthy smile, and this year’s theme is ‘Love Your Smile’.

The overarching message is that our smile is one of our best assets, which is why we should prioritise giving it the best care possible. This theme also shines a light on the fact that caring for your smile plays a crucial role in caring for your body and preventing disease.

Taking care of your oral health is about more than your mouth

  • Strokes
    Did you know that having missing teeth, gum disease, and even poor brushing habits can increase your risk of having a stroke? The mouth is a window to the rest of the body, and the oral bacteria responsible for gum disease can find its way into your bloodstream, increasing inflammation in the blood vessels and ultimately increasing your risk of a stroke.
  • Heart disease
    People with gum disease (that’s over 45% of the UK population) have an increased risk of developing cardiovascular disease. Once in the bloodstream, bacteria from your mouth travels throughout the body, and can trigger inflammation in the heart’s vessels and cause infection in the valves.
  • Lung conditions
    A clear link has been established between having poor oral health and respiratory disease. You guessed it; oral bacteria are able to travel from the mouth to the lungs, increasing the risk of conditions like emphysema and pneumonia. There is also evidence that gum disease can worsen asthma and COPD.
  • Alzheimer’s
    New studies are emerging that have found that the bacteria that causes gum disease is the same bacteria associated with the development of Alzheimer’s. This leads experts to believe that there is a connection between oral health and the cognitive brain loss associated with Alzheimer’s.
  • Diabetes
    Experts have discovered a two-way relationship between gum disease and diabetes. People diagnosed with type 2 diabetes have an 86% increased risk of the progression of gum disease. Furthermore, the state of a diabetic patient’s oral health can tell us a lot about their management of sugar levels. It’s vital that people diagnosed with diabetes stay on top of their oral health and preventative care.

What to look out for

To keep your body safe from systemic diseases that can be caused by poor oral health, it’s vital that you pay attention to what’s going on in your mouth. The following symptoms are signs of gum infection. Get in touch with your dentist or dental hygienist if you experience one or more of these symptoms:

  • Red, tender gums
  • Bleeding gums
  • Sensitive teeth
  • Loose teeth
  • Persistent bad breath
  • Pain when chewing. 

Stay on top of your oral health

This National Smile Month, the Oral Health Foundation will be sharing lots of useful resources on caring for your smile, how food and drink impact your teeth, how you can avoid increasing your risk of systemic diseases associated with oral health, and also advice about the best oral health products to use at home. You can find out more information on their website, or by following them on Facebook and Instagram.

If you are experiencing any of the signs of gum infection mentioned in this article, or it’s time you booked yourself in for your next check-up or hygiene appointment, call us on 01482 565488 to make an appointment.

For an easy and affordable way to stay on top of your oral health, you could explore our 543 Dencare dental plans! Each plan covers all of your essential care in one manageable monthly fee.