Can Dental Health Affect Your Overall Health?
Short answer: Yes.
Dental health is more important than you might realize.
When it comes to overall health, oral health is more important than you might realize. It’s common to think of your mouth as separate from the rest of your body. Most of us go to one place for the care of our body and another place for the care of our mouth. But many diseases and conditions of our body are linked to oral health, and oral health often provides clues that our bodies aren’t working the way they should.
Our mouths, like other parts of the body, are teeming with bacteria. Most of these bacteria are harmless and are kept in check by the body’s natural defenses and good oral health care habits. Without proper hygiene, bacteria can reach levels that lead to oral infections, such as tooth decay and gum disease. Since the mouth is the entry point to our respiratory and digestive tracts, bacteria can easily enter our bodies and some bacteria can cause disease.
Poor oral health can contribute to diseases and conditions in the body.
- Cardiovascular disease – Research suggests that heart disease, clogged arteries, and stroke might be linked to inflammation and infection caused by oral bacteria.
- Endocarditis – This infection of the inner lining of the heart chambers or valves typically occurs when bacteria from another part of the body, including the mouth, attaches to the heart.
- Pregnancy and birth complications – Periodontitis, or gum disease, has been connected to premature birth, low birth weights, gestational diabetes, miscarriage, still birth, and preeclampsia.
- Pneumonia – Certain bacteria from your mouth can reach your lungs, causing pneumonia and other respiratory diseases.
There are also conditions that might adversely affect oral health.
- Diabetes – Because diabetes reduces the body’s resistance to infection, gum disease appears to be more frequent and severe in people who have diabetes. People with gum disease also have a more difficult time controlling blood sugar levels. Regular periodontal care can lead to better diabetes control.
- Osteoporosis – People who suffer from a weakening of the bones may also experience tooth loss and a deterioration of the jawbone.
- Alzheimer’s Disease – As Alzheimer’s progresses, worsening oral health is observed.
- Immune System Diseases – Conditions that affect the immune system, such as HIV/AIDS, fibromyalgia, and rheumatoid arthritis, lower the body’s ability to fight infection and can lead to oral health problems.
What You Can Do
There are several things you can do to help ensure good oral health and overall health.
- Practice good oral care habits at home. Brush your teeth twice a day for two minutes a day and floss daily. Read more about How to Properly Brush Your Teeth.
- Visit your dentist twice a year, or as recommended.
- At your dental visit, make sure to update the care team with information about your medical conditions, recent illnesses, and any medications you’re taking. Some medications, such as those that reduce saliva, are linked with increased inflammation, tooth decay, and gum disease.
- Manage chronic conditions and maintain a healthy lifestyle by eating well and exercising.
“It’s common for many people to overlook the significance of oral health when it comes to total body health, but your dental care team is here to make those connections,” says Dr. Amin Uddin.
we are part of your community
We proudly Serve the Entire St. croix Valley!
We serve the entire St. Croix Valley, including St. Croix Falls, Taylors Falls, Osceola, Turtle Lake & Grantsburg areas. Our full service dental clinic can still ensure you have the best dental hygiene possible. New patients are always welcome, so come visit us today to discuss your options. You’ll see for yourself why patient satisfaction is so high. Our friendly staff are more than happy to help!