Self-Reported Oral Health Issues are Linked to Other Wellness Issues –

3 min read

Research continues to show individuals with poor oral hygiene have poor health outcomes overall.


It has long been known that people with diagnosed oral health issues are at great risk for long-term poor health outcomes. With the help of a new study, however, it has now been shown that even if people don’t have a formal diagnosis of an oral health problem like gum disease, they are likely at the same risk of problems over the long run. Typically, oral health and general health have been treated as two separate issues that don’t get treated together, but the research produced in this study helps to show that it’s all closely connected.

To get at the findings in this study, the Women’s Health Study and the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey were used. By connecting comorbidities to the self-reporting of oral health problems, researchers were able to establish a link. Across the data, it was seen that increased all-cause mortality was connected to lacking dental visits and failing to floss regularly. If researchers previously were tempted to discount self-reported oral health issues in comparison to issues that had been properly diagnosed by a dentist, this study shows that they should be treated as the same.

Knowing that oral health problems are always connected to poor overall health, no matter who has diagnosed the issues, it’s important to address patients’ oral health whenever possible. That doesn’t just mean when the patient visits the dentist, but also when they come in for an appointment with their primary care provider. If the primary care physician makes it a point to ask about oral health and discuss positive dental health habits, it might be possible to make improvements in that area and boost overall health in the long run as a result.

Photo by George Becker from Pexels

It’s going to be important to spread out the research on this topic to reach many more populations across a wider cross-section of society. If dental health questions can be included in more large-scale health studies across the country, it will be easier for similar research in the future to be conducted and for correlations to be formed. Those kinds of changes will take time to be incorporated into research and then for that research to come through and be collected, so hopefully it will start as soon as possible.

In the end, the message is pretty clear when it comes to oral health – it’s important. Whether it’s going into the dentist to have a regular exam, or having long-standing oral health problems finally addressed, there is no doubt that oral health care plays a vital role in the overall health of humans. For those who self-report poor oral health, getting in to see a dentist to figure out what treatments are needed to mitigate their problems is an important step. Addressing oral health conditions as soon as possible is only going to help the individual confront other problems they might be encountering with their overall health.

Sources:

Study shows correlation between self-reported oral health and systemic health outcomes

Gum disease and the connection to heart disease

Treating gum disease may lessen the burden of heart disease, diabetes, other conditions

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