Prioritizing oral health for overall well-being  

Prioritizing oral health for overall well-being  

Though we often relegate oral health to the sidelines, when it comes to health and wellness, focusing more on topics like diet, exercise, and stress management, recent research has shown how profoundly oral health impacts our overall physical and mental well-being, underscoring the need to prioritize it.

Traditionally, discussions on health focus more on factors such as sleep, nutrition, and exercise, ignoring oral health. Nonetheless, experts are increasingly acknowledging the crucial role that oral health plays in sustaining overall well-being. Indeed, oral health has risen to prominence as one of the six principal pillars of health in lifestyle medicine, gaining importance in holistic well-being.

Renowned professor and neuroscientist Andrew Huberman, from Stanford Medical School, in a Huberman Lab podcast has discussed the significance of oral health for both physical and mental health.

Research indicates that an imbalance in the oral microbiome, termed dysbiosis, can precipitate an array of health complications, spanning from common dental issues to grave systemic diseases such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and even Alzheimer's disease.

Jukka Meurman, Professor Emeritus of Oral and Maxillofacial Diseases at the University of Helsinki, emphasizes the need for increasing awareness regarding the link between oral health and overall health. He stresses the necessity for prompt treatment of oral infections, as untreated bacteria in the oral cavity can impact other bodily regions, instigating systemic inflammation and increase the risk of chronic diseases.

Meurman highlights that oral infections pose a particularly grave threat to patients with chronic illnesses. The escalated risk of oral diseases also extends to individuals consuming immunosuppressive drugs, which can predispose them to oral infections such as gingivitis and periodontitis.

Gum disease, a prevalent oral infection, epitomizes the correlation between oral health and overall health. Left unaddressed, it can progress to more severe conditions such as periodontitis or peri-implantitis, which can have serious ramifications for both oral and systemic health. Timely identification and treatment of gum disease can forestall further complications and preserve overall health.

Nina Garlo-Melkas, MSc, is a distinguished health and science journalist with a profound passion for communicating complex medical concepts to the general public. Currently serving as the Communications Manager at Koite Health Ltd., Nina brings a wealth of expertise to her role in bridging the gap between cutting-edge healthcare developments and the wider community. With her commitment to promoting health awareness, Nina is dedicated to providing valuable insights into the world of healthcare and science.