Did you know that your oral health offers clues about your overall health? The problems that start in your mouth can affect the rest of your body making your oral health more important than many of us realize.
Connection Between Oral Health and Overall Health
Your mouth is a breeding ground for bacteria. In most cases, the bacteria in your mouth will be kept under control with good oral habits, like regular brushing and flossing.
In rare cases, and without proper oral hygiene, the bacteria in your mouth will reach high levels, causing oral infection, tooth decay, and gum disease.
As your mouth is also an entry point for your digestive and respiratory tracts, the overflow of bacteria can easily enter your body and cause illness and disease.
What Health Conditions Are Linked to Oral Health?
If your gums are inflamed due to periodontal disease the bacteria that cause it can get into the bloodstream. This will result in the buildup of plaque in the arteries causing blood flow problems, heart blockages, and increasing your chance of a heart attack.
Because gum disease can lead to higher than normal blood sugar levels, a person with poor oral health is at an increased risk of developing diabetes. People who already have diabetes are more susceptible to periodontal disease. Periodontal disease can also make diabetes more difficult to control.
Bacteria in the mouth from infected teeth and gums can be breathed into the lungs or easily travel there through the bloodstream. Once in the lungs, the bacteria can lead to respiratory infections, acute bronchitis and even pneumonia.
We all know that smoking or using tobacco products can lead to oral and throat cancers, but kidney cancer and blood cancers have also been linked to gum disease and poor oral health.
Infections such as periodontal disease can lead to kidney disease. People with gum disease have weaker immune systems and are more likely to develop infections. Many people who suffer from poor oral health also suffer from kidney disease.
People with gum disease are four times more likely to also have Rheumatoid Arthritis. Both gum disease and Rheumatoid Arthritis are inflammatory diseases. Additionally, oral bacteria from gingivitis can increase inflammation in the body, making you more susceptible to developing rheumatoid arthritis.
Can I Prevent These Health Issues?
Scheduling regular dental exams in our office can help keep your teeth and gums clean, preventing any serious health issues.
Tips for Good Oral Hygiene
- Brush twice a day and floss daily
- Use mouthwash that contains fluoride
- Say no to tobacco products
- Limit food and drinks that contain a lot of sugar
- Eat a well-balanced diet
- Exercise and take care of your overall health
When you take care of your oral health, you also take care of your body and your overall health. Good oral hygiene will prevent problems such as gingivitis or periodontal disease, which in turn will help prevent more serious health issues in your body.
Remember… your mouth is the pathway to everything in your body.