You may not realize it, but your dental health is closely connected to the health of your overall body. Here, we’ll explain what the connection between them is, what conditions affect both your dental and overall wellness, and how to protect your oral health.
The Connection Between Dental Health & Overall Wellness
Your mouth is essentially a gateway to the rest of the body–a gateway that is naturally filled with bacteria, most of it harmless, but some of it potentially dangerous. With proper oral hygiene, such as brushing your teeth twice a day and flossing at least once a day, you can rid your mouth of much of the bad bacteria that cause poor oral health. However, if you do not thoroughly clean your mouth, you run the risk of developing serious dental health issues, such as bad breath, gum disease, and tooth decay. These conditions are worrisome for your teeth and gums, but they can also negatively impact the rest of your body.
Conditions Associated with Poor Oral Health
One of the most serious conditions associated with poor dental health is cardiovascular disease. Research suggests that oral bacteria associated with your dental issues can get into your bloodstream and travel to your heart. This leads to clogged and hardened arteries, a condition called atherosclerosis, which can contribute to a stroke, heart attack, and tissue death. Bad bacteria from your mouth can also make its way to your heart and cause endocarditis, an infection of the inner lining of your heart.
Gum disease is another culprit that affects both the mouth and the body. When you have inflamed and infected gums, you can breath in that bad bacteria and develop an infection in your lungs like pneumonia. Gum disease has also been linked to low birth weight and premature birth. Moreover, there is early evidence that suggests an association with Alzheimer’s disease.
Health Conditions with Oral Effects
There are also a number of health conditions that affect the mouth. Those who have diabetes have an increased risk of developing gum disease because diabetes can decrease the body’s ability to fight infection. People who have HIV/AIDS often have painful oral health issues such as mucosal lesions, and those with Alzheimer’s disease experience a decreased ability to care for their oral hygiene as their dementia progresses. Other health conditions that affect oral health include osteoporosis, eating disorders, head and neck cancers, rheumatoid arthritis, and Sjogren’s syndrome, an immune disorder.
How to Keep Your Oral Health in Tip-Top Shape
Regardless of the current state of your oral health and your overall health, the best way to protect your oral health is by practicing good oral health habits every day. Brush your teeth twice a day for two minutes each time with a fluoridated toothpaste, floss at least once a day, drink plenty of water, and eat a healthy diet low in added sugar, refined carbohydrates, and acids. It’s also vital for your oral health to come in for regular checkups and cleanings. Contact us today to schedule your next appointment at Embrace Dental Care!