Oral Health Equals Total Health: A Brief Review

Adrian Yap

Abstract


Oral health is essential to total health and satisfactory quality of life. According to the World Health Organization (2012), oral health has been defined as a state of being free of mouth and facial pain, oral infections and sores, and oral and other diseases that limit an individual’s capacity in biting, chewing, smiling, speaking, and psychosocial well-being. Oral conditions like dental caries and periodontal (gum) disease continue to plague humanity. Nearly all adults have existing tooth decay, and severe gum disease occurs in 15 to 20% of middle-aged adults. The adverse effects of inadequate care for teeth, gums, bite, and jaws can move beyond the mouth to affect overall physical and psychological health. Research has indicated that poor oral health may be associated with medical conditions such as heart disease, stroke, diabetes, pneumonia, and other respiratory diseases. It has also been linked to pre-term births and low-birth-weight babies. Jaw problems are also a common cause of headaches and ear and facial pain. Dental clearance prior to medical treatment, including cancer/bisphosphonate therapy and cardiac surgery, minimizes both oral and systemic complications. Many medical conditions have oral manifestations, and some medications have side effects that lead to compromised oral health as well as jaw function disabilities. This paper summarizes and highlights the importance of oral-systemic connections. In addition, the features of common dental problems are discussed.

 


Keywords


oral health; systemic health; periodontal disease; caries; temporomandibular disorders

DOI: 10.14693/jdi.v24i2.1122

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