Healthy Skin And A Healthy Mouth: The Links

healthy mouth

Discover the links between a healthy mouth and healthy skin

The mouth is often referred to as a window to the rest of the body and a dentist or doctor can tell a lot about a person’s general health by simply looking around their mouth.

A healthy mouth generally indicates a healthy body, as does flawless, clear skin, but how is oral health linked to skin health and what can you do to make sure that you have a bright smile and a radiant complexion?

Your skin and your mouth: the link

The skin is the largest organ in the body and like the mouth, it can tell you a lot about your health. Your skin is one of the only parts that is visible without using cameras or scanners and the signs of unhealthy skin are clear to see.

healthy smileFrom dehydrated, dry and irritated skin, to rashes, warts and spots or patches of infected skin, the symptoms of health problems are often highly visible and marks on your skin can give clues to issues affecting the internal organs and the body systems; often, if you have external symptoms, doctors have a much better idea of what is going on inside your body and this speeds up the diagnostic process.

Your mouth also plays a very important role in showing dentists and doctors what could potentially be wrong inside the body; dentists and doctors can use oral symptoms to diagnose bacterial infections, abscesses, diabetes, oral cancer, gum disease and cardiovascular disease.

It is uncommon for oral diseases to cause skin problems or vice-versa; however, your skin health and your oral health do have many factors in common and many of the choices you make in order to enjoy good oral health will have a positive impact on the health of your skin.

Lifestyle factors that affect skin and oral health

Diet:  A poor diet causes many issues within the body and signs of this are visible on your skin and in your mouth; an examination of the mouth may reveal cavities, symptoms of gum disease, worn, thin enamel, stained and chipped teeth, while a closer look at the skin may show signs of dehydration, dullness, blotchiness, dark spots, acne and irritation, which may all be associated with the foods you put into your body.

Just as your diet can have a negative impact on the look of your skin and teeth, it can also be highly beneficial for oral health and the health of your skin. Foods that are good for your teeth and gums are often also beneficial for your skin and these include:

  • fibre-rich fruit and vegetables
  • fruit and vegetables that are rich in vitamin C (such as berries and citrus fruits)
  • oily fish, nuts and seeds
  • lean meat
  • green tea
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Drinking and smoking: Drinking alcohol and smoking both have negative implications for your skin, general health and oral health. Smoking affects the body’s ability to regenerate and repair cells and affects the immune system, which is the body’s defense mechanism. Smoking is also a common cause of gum disease and the main risk factor for oral cancer. Alcohol contributes to dehydration, which dries out the skin and the mouth, as well as inhibiting liver and kidney function.

Dry mouth:  Dry mouth is a common condition, which occurs when there is a lack of saliva in the mouth; it is often a result of dehydration or taking certain types of medication and can contribute to a host of problems, including problems with swallowing and digestion, an increased risk of dental decay and gum disease and infections in the body, which may result from harmful bacteria traveling from the mouth to other parts of the body. Dry mouth can also case the skin around the lips and mouth to become flaky and sore.

Diabetes:  Research has shown that people who have diabetes have a higher risk of developing oral health complications; however, there is also evidence to suggest that poor oral health can increase the risk of diabetes. Diabetes has a range of effects on the body and occurs as a result of the body being unable to control blood glucose levels. One problem commonly associated with diabetes is dry skin, which happens as a result of the body trying to excrete excess glucose from the bloodstream, which uses up water.

Researchers have found that looking after your oral health can reduce your risk of diabetes, as well as other life-threatening illnesses, so it is really important to brush twice a day, floss and see your dentist for regular check-ups.

This is a guest post by James Dunphy who is an online healthcare writer currently working to educate people on the dangers of poor oral health alongside the experts at Sensu.

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