Why taking care of the mouth is a shield for the rest of the body

A mistake we often make is thinking that the way we take care of our teeth and gums is only important for oral health. But the truth is that the peculiarities of the mouth -both anatomical and microbiological or functional- make it a very unique organ that, if it becomes ill, can have very unfavorable repercussions on the health of the rest of the body.

We cannot forget that, after all, the mouth is the gateway to two of the systems that communicate our body with the environment: the respiratory system and the digestive system. Both through the air we breathe and the food and drink we eat, all kinds of microorganisms enter the mouth, and this peculiarity contributes to the fact that the oral cavity is colonized by hundreds of different strains of bacteria, viruses and fungi.

Don’t worry: this colonization, in principle, is positive. The problem arises when dysbiosis occurs, that is, when the balance of microorganisms that populate our mouth is altered. This imbalance can be caused by genetic factors (there are people with a greater predisposition), and also factors related to our lifestyle: an inadequate diet, tobacco use or poor oral hygiene. In these cases, the appearance of periodontal diseases -gingivitis and periodontitis- is facilitated, which can end up destroying the gums and even cause the loss of teeth.

The General Council of Dentists of Spain and the Dental Foundation point out that “poor oral health, with cavities and periodontal disease, increases the risk of systemic diseases, which can cause heart and lung complications, pregnancy problems or worsen diabetes.

But there is much more at risk: periodontitis is not only a disease of the mouth, but it is also an inflammatory and systemic disease: this means that it can damage other organs and increase the risk of suffering from other types of pathologies, or to aggravate them if we already suffer them. Thus, the General Council of Dentists of Spain and the Dental Foundation point out that “poor oral health, with cavities and periodontal disease, increases the risk of systemic diseases, which can cause heart and lung complications, pregnancy problems or worsen diabetes” . In this same sense, a report by the World Health Organization, published at the beginning of the year, warns of the importance of oral health as a key part of general health.

The other derivatives

• Diabetes. Periodontal disease and diabetes have a bidirectional relationship: on the one hand, the more severe the periodontitis, the greater the risk of developing diabetes (as well as its serious complications); on the other, diabetes is known to quadruple the risk of periodontal disease. For this reason, it is very necessary for diabetic patients to integrate correct oral hygiene into their routines, in which they use specific products on a daily basis to prevent and reduce gum disease.

• Cardiovascular disease. As the Spanish Heart Foundation points out, cardiovascular diseases are the leading cause of mortality in Spain. In the review of the latest Guidelines of the European Society of Cardiology (ESC), periodontitis has been included as a cardiovascular risk factor. In fact, it is known that people with severe periodontitis have more than twice the risk of suffering an acute myocardial infarction; 4.3 times more likely to suffer a cardiovascular accident and 2.3 times more likely to suffer peripheral vascular disease.

• Pregnancy. Pregnancy is not a disease, but it is a time of risk for periodontal disease. All pregnant women should be careful with their gums: it is essential that they are healthy because the baby’s immune system is formed during the gestation period and in the first year of life; There is evidence that periodontitis in pregnant women is associated with premature births, low birth weight or preeclampsia. Therefore, it is essential that the mother has proper oral hygiene and uses products specifically formulated to avoid contracting gum disease.

Vitis recommends the daily use of Vitis Encías or Vitis CPC Protect, which contain CPC, an antiseptic with a powerful anti-plaque action.
Vitis recommends the daily use of Vitis Encías or Vitis CPC Protect, which contain CPC, an antiseptic with a powerful anti-plaque action.

How should we protect ourselves?

From the first teeth to adulthood, oral care equals health care. Prevention is key and, in this sense, hygiene and oral care are a fundamental piece. We must take into account how to do it and, in addition, finish brushing with the use of a mouthwash, especially if it contains Cetylpyridinium Chloride (CPC), an antiseptic with a powerful anti-plaque action. Vitis recommends the daily use of Vitis Encías or Vitis CPC Protect pastes and mouthwashes, as they include this ingredient in their composition.

The figures that show the problem

• In the world, more than 3,500 million people have untreated oral diseases, and the situation has not improved in the last 30 years.

• The combined global prevalence of caries, periodontal disease and tooth loss has remained unchanged at 45%, higher than any other non-communicable disease.

• In Spain, eight million adults have periodontal disease (1 in 3), of which 2 million develop severe periodontitis (1 in 13 older adults).

• 33% of older adults have severe tooth loss (16 missing teeth or more) and 11% are edentulous.

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