Taking good care of your mouth, teeth and gums is a decent object in and of itself. Excellent oral and dental hygiene can aid stop bad breath, tooth decay, and gum condition—and can help you have your teeth as you get older.

Researchers are also finding new ideas to brush and floss. A healthy mouth may encourage you to ward off medical complications. The flip side? A delicate mouth, especially if you have gum illness, may increase your risk of severe health difficulties such as heart attack, stroke, badly controlled diabetes and preterm labor.

The case for good oral hygiene has grown stronger. Learn the value of oral health — and its relationship to your overall health.

What’s in your mouth shows much about your health?

What does the health of your mouth have to do with your overall health? In a statement, plenty. A glimpse inside or a swab of saliva can tell your doctor sounds about what’s going on inside your body.

Several conditions produce oral signs and symptoms

Your mouth is a lattice into what’s going on in the base of your body, often following as an important vantage point for identifying the initial signs and symptoms of the systemic infection — a disease that attacks or concerns to your entire body, not just one of its components.

Systemic diseases such as AIDS or diabetes, for example, often first become visible as mouth sores or other oral problems. In fact, according to the Academy of General Dentistry, more than 90 percent of all systemic conditions produce verbal signs and symptoms.

Saliva: Effective diagnostic tool

Your doctor can get and test saliva to catch for a variety of things. For example, cortisol levels in saliva are used to check for stress answers in newborn children. And parts of specific bone-specific proteins may be useful in controlling bone loss in women and men likely to osteoporosis. Specific cancer markers are also detectable in saliva.

Regular saliva testing can also measure illicit drugs, environmental toxins, hormones and antibodies showing hepatitis or HIV infection, among other things.

The technique to identify HIV-specific antibodies has led to the creation of commercial, easy-to-use saliva test kits. In the future, saliva measurement may return blood testing as a means of diagnosing and controlling conditions such as diabetes, Parkinson’s disorder, cirrhosis of the liver and many dangerous diseases.

Protection upon harmful invaders: How saliva disables bacteria and diseases

Saliva is also one of your body’s main protection against disease-causing organisms, such as bacteria and viruses. It includes antibodies that combat viral pathogens, such as the popular cold and HIV.

And it includes proteins called histatins, which hinder the completion of a naturally happening fungus called Candida albicans. When these proteins are weakened by HIV disease or other illness, candida can become out of control, ending in a fungal infection called oral thrush.

Oral thrush

Saliva also defends you against disease-causing bacteria. It includes enzymes that kill bacteria in many ways, by diminishing bacterial layers, hindering the growth and metabolism of specific bacteria and disturbing vital bacterial enzyme systems.

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