• Healthy Smile, Healthy Workers: The Importance of Oral Health for Optimal Health of Your Team

    Research suggests that the health of your mouth mirrors the condition of your body as a whole.

    For example, when your mouth is healthy, chances are your overall health is good, too. On the other hand, if you have poor oral health, you may have other health problems.

    Oral health is fundamental to overall health, wellbeing and quality of life. A healthy mouth enables people to eat, speak and socialise without pain, discomfort or embarrassment.

    Did you know? Healthy employees are likely to be 3 x more productive

    A recent study indicated that the healthiest Australian employees are almost three times more productive than their unhealthy colleagues.

    Health, happiness, and productivity at work are directly related.

    Many conditions cause oral health signs and symptoms

    Your mouth is a window into what’s going on in the rest of your body, often serving as a helpful vantage point for detecting the early signs and symptoms of systemic disease — a disease that affects or pertains to your entire body, not just one of its parts. Systemic conditions such as diabetes, for example, often first become apparent as mouth lesions or other oral problems.

    Health staff with healthy smiles

    Your mouth as an infection source for poor wellbeing and oral health

    If you don’t brush and floss regularly to keep your teeth clean, plaque can build up along your gum line, creating an environment for additional bacteria to accumulate in the space between your gums and your teeth. This gum infection is known as gingivitis. Left unchecked, gingivitis can lead to a more serious gum infection called periodontitis.

    If you have a healthy immune system, the presence of oral bacteria in your bloodstream causes no problems. Your immune system quickly dispenses with them, preventing infection. However, if your immune system is weakened, for example because of a disease, oral bacteria in your bloodstream (bacteraemia) may cause you to develop an infection in another part of your body.

    Plaque as a cause of common oral health conditions

    Long-term gum infection can eventually result in the loss of your teeth. But the consequences may not end there. Recent research suggests that there may be an association between oral infections — primarily gum infections — and poorly controlled diabetes, cardiovascular disease, pre-term birth etc.

    Poorly controlled diabetes

    If you have diabetes, you’re already at increased risk of developing gum disease. But chronic gum disease may, in fact, make diabetes more difficult to control, as well. Infection may cause insulin resistance, which disrupts blood sugar control. Read more about oral health and diabetes here.

    Cardiovascular disease

    Oral inflammation due to bacteria (gingivitis) may also play a role in clogged arteries and blood clots. It appears that bacteria in the mouth may cause inflammation throughout the body, including the arteries. This inflammation may serve as a base for development of atherosclerotic plaques in the arteries, possibly increasing your risk of a heart attack or stroke. Some research suggests that people with gum infections are also at increased risk of heart attack and stroke.

    Pre-term birth

    Severe gum disease may increase the risk of pre-term delivery and giving birth to a low birth weight baby. Find out more with our Oral Health tips for pregnant mums.

    Digestion problems

    Digestion begins with physical and chemical processes in the mouth, and oral health problems here can lead to intestinal failure, irritable bowel syndrome, coeliac disease and other digestive disorders.

    Sleep disorders

    Your teeth may be a major cause for lack of sleep and disturbed sleep, if you are having trouble sleeping, suffer sleep apnoea and/or snoring then please contact a dentist.

    What you can do to maintain optimal oral health for your team!

    Get regular check- ups with your dentist

    Seeing a dentist regularly helps to keep your mouth in good condition and allows your dentist to watch for developments that may point to other health issues. Dental Care Professionals recommend a dental check up every 6 months. A dental exam can also detect poor nutrition and hygiene, growth and development problems and improper jaw alignment.

    Join your team up to a dental wellness program

    Partnering with a preferred oral health provider and offering employee benefits as part of a wellness program is an ideal way to help promote oral health and overall health of your team. Dental Care Professionals (DCP) is committed to providing a personalised and gentle professional dental care experience and is offering local businesses the opportunity to sign up for FREE to the Dental Care Professionals Corporate Dental Program.

    Practice good oral hygiene at home

    At home, you can practice good oral hygiene by:

    • Brushing twice a day for at least two minutes, using fluoridated toothpaste.
    • Floss daily to remove plaque from places your toothbrush can’t reach.
    • Eat a healthy diet to provide the nutrients necessary (vitamins A and C,) to prevent gum disease.
    • Avoid smoking, known to contribute to gum disease and oral cancer.
    • Reduce sugar intake, minimise sweet treats and sugary juices etc.

    The most effective way of detecting early signs of gum diseases is by visiting your dentist.

    Find out more about Dental Care Professionals and the Corporate Dental Program here.

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