The Link Between Oral Health & Overall Health

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Your mouth is a gateway to your body, so why not give your body the best defense: a healthy mouth. By practicing good oral health, you keep bacteria at bay. Bacteria runs rampant if left unchecked and can cause gum disease, tooth decay, and other serious health problems, like the 5 detailed below.

  1. Heart Disease
  2. Heart disease and gum disease are often linked because inflammation that occurs in the mouth can also lead to inflammation of blood vessels. When they become inflamed, blood vessels restrict blood flow between the heart and the rest of the body. This raises your blood pressure. Additionally, the bacteria produced by inflamed gums can enter the bloodstream and harden your arteries. This causes plaque to develop in the arteries and further restricts blood flow. Plaque can cause a stroke or heart attack if it breaks off and makes its way to your brain or heart.

  3. Lung Conditions
  4. If you have poor dental health, you’re breathing in bacteria from your infected teeth every day. This bacteria can exacerbate or create respiratory infections like chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and pneumonia.

  5. Osteoporosis
  6. Though controversial, some researchers believe that there is a link between periodontitis (or “gum disease”) and osteoporosis. Some studies have shown that women with osteoporosis are more likely to suffer from gum disease. Inflammation from gum disease potentially weakens bones in other areas of the body.

  7. Diabetes
  8. Your gums become prone to infection and inflammation when bacteria is not removed from your mouth. Inflammation weakens your body’s ability to control blood sugar levels. If you currently have diabetes, your body already struggles to process sugar. Inflammation will exacerbate your body’s inability to utilize insulin, the hormone that regulates blood sugar. Further, you are more prone to periodontitis because high blood sugar provides the perfect conditions in which infection can develop.

  9. Issues with Prenatal Development
  10. Researchers are examining the link between gum disease in the mother and low birth weight and premature delivery of her baby. Infection and inflammation appear to interfere with fetal development in the womb. Periodontitis may contribute to health issues in infants such as learning disorders, and heart and lung conditions.

The above are just some of the reasons why it’s important to keep your mouth healthy in order to keep the rest of your body healthy. By practicing good oral hygiene at home you are taking huge steps toward keeping your mouth clean. But don’t forget to see us for regular checkups and cleanings. Call us today!

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