25 Jun Links between Poor Oral Health and Jaw Problems
Your oral health affects your overall health in various ways. Poor oral hygiene allows bacteria to build up and form sticky walls of plaque on your teeth. These bacterial plaque deposits infect the gums causing them to become inflamed and bleed, known as gingivitis.
If gingivitis is allowed to continue without treatment, the problem can escalate into periodontitis which erodes and pulls the gums away from the teeth. With the protective gum barrier compromised, bacteria descend further into the crevices created and begin to eat away at the underlying bone foundation. If periodontal disease is not treated, it can lead to severe deterioration of the jawbone and tooth loss, both of which can produce discomfort and pain.
Furthermore, as the jawbone and teeth are compromised by periodontitis stemming from poor oral hygiene, it can lead to maladjustments to the natural bite of the teeth. When the jaw and teeth fall out of line, it can cause facial muscle spasms, sinus pain, headaches or migraines, and even throbbing pain in the neck, shoulders and back.
If not corrected, maladjustments to the jaw and bite of the teeth can also produce TMJ (Temporomandibular Joint Disorders) which can cause symptoms such as pain, grinding or clicking in the joints of the jaw, difficulty or discomfort with opening and closing the mouth, and buzzing and ringing in the ears all of which can lead to sleep loss, eating disorders, communication problems and more. The risk of TMJ is sharply elevated if the person also has osteoporosis which can expedite the bone deterioration process.
In order to combat these problems, good oral health practices are highly recommended by dental professionals. You should brush your teeth at least twice daily using fluoridated toothpaste for around 2-3 minutes each brushing. Flossing at least once per day before your last brushing will help to remove food and plaque that have accumulated between the teeth throughout the day.
You should also focus on eating a healthy, nutritional diet that includes good portions of vitamins A and C which the body uses to fight gum disease. Avoid smoking cigarettes or using smokeless tobacco which have been well-documented as links to gum disease and oral cancer.
Finally, practice preventative oral health care by seeing your dentist for regular checkups. Such professionals are readily equipped to detect and treat problems before they become life-changing.
Want to know more about how your oral health can affect the rest of your body? You won’t believe all the health risks associated with poor oral health! Check out our incredible, innovative oral health resource:
This article is part of our blog series, “The Deadly Consequences of Poor Dental Care“
Khosla, S. et al. “Bisphosphonate-Associated Osteonecrosis of the Jaw: Report of a TaskForce of the American Society for Bone and Mineral Research.” Journal of bone and Mineral Research, Volume 22, Number 10, 2007.