How Dental Health Impacts Your Overall Health

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Your mouth is full of both good and bad types of bacteria, with the majority being harmless to your health. However, did you know that your oral health and dental hygiene can have an impact on your overall health? In fact, studies have shown that some diseases and conditions can be linked to your dental health. 

Some types of mouth bacteria that causes gum inflammation associated with periodontist (gum disease) can play a role in other diseases. This kind of gum disease combined with other diseases like diabetes can weaken your body’s ability to fit infection, compounding the impact of oral health issues.

So what conditions are currently linked to oral health? And which conditions are linked to a negative impact on your oral health? According to Mayo Clinic, they include:

Diseases Linked to Dental Health

  • Cardiovascular disease is starting to be linked to oral bacteria that causes gum disease and inflammation. The connection is just beginning to be identified and is not completely understood at this time. 
  • Birth complications as a result of gum disease has been linked to children born at a low birth weight and premature births.
  • Endocarditis is an infection that impacts your heart and commonly is the result of germs and bacteria from the mouth (or another part of the body) spreading into the bloodstream and attaching to particular parts of the heart.
  • Pneumonia has been linked to certain oral bacteria being brought into the lungs.

Conditions that Negatively Impact Your Dental Health

  • Diabetes has been linked to gum disease. Research shows that those who have diabetes are at a higher risk for gum disease. However, the good news is that additional research has found that regular mouth and gum care can actually improve the ability to control blood-sugar levels.
  • Alzheimer’s disease has been connected to a degradation of oral health, especially as the disease progresses over time. 
  • Osteoporosis is connected to bone loss and therefore, tooth loss. Additionally, some medications used to address osteoporosis also presents a risk of damaging bones in the jaw.
  • HIV/AIDS patients often experience various oral health issues like lesions of the mouth.

How To Protect Your Mouth & Your Health

The recommendation for those who have experienced any of these conditions and for those who haven’t, is the same: practice consistent and effective daily oral hygiene. This includes:

  • Brushing teeth twice a day with fluoride toothpaste
  • Regular dental exams, cleanings and check-ups
  • A healthy diet that minimizes consumption of high-sugar foods/drinks
  • Flossing with regularity (daily)
  • Periodic use of fluoride mouth washes
  • Replacing old toothbrushes (3-6 months or as needed)
  • Avoiding tobacco use

If you’re concerned about your dental health and its impact on your overall health, make an appointment today and we’ll help you develop a plan for addressing your dental health concerns.