Good – or bad – oral health can have a surprising effect on your overall health. Poor oral health, including tooth decay, gum disease, infections and chronic inflammation, has been linked to major diseases such as cardiovascular disease. Diseases such as diabetes can lower the body’s resistance to infection and create or worsen oral health problems.
Health experts say that on a more everyday level, poor oral health can result in eating difficulties, poor nutrition, speech problems, facial pain and discomfort, and low self-esteem.
Dr Naser Albarbari, an oral surgeon and the Chief of Clinical Dental Services at Australian Unity, says taking care of the teeth, gums and mouth, is something that we can tackle in a variety of ways and is even more important as we get older.
“The same techniques recommended when you are five years old still apply when you are 65 or older,” he says.
“Good oral health still means regular brushing, flossing, being careful what we drink and eating healthy foods. With visits to the dentist, the difference may be the frequency. Just as most people need to see the doctor more frequently as they age, so you may need to visit the dentist two to three times a year rather than just once.”