The Direct Link Between Dental Health and General Health

Every day you brush and floss (I hope!), protecting your mouth from cavities and keeping those pearly whites sparkling. By taking care of your dental health, you are protecting your overall health, too. In my practice, that’s a mantra we chant every day.

There is a direct link between dental health and general health. You may be surprised to learn how poor oral hygiene can affect other parts of your body. Bacteria – good and bad – lives in your mouth. Daily brushing, flossing, and regular teeth cleaning at your dentist keeps it under control. However, if your dental hygiene is lacking, the bad bacteria can grow and cause oral infections and gum disease.

And unfortunately, it doesn’t end there.

People who suffer from gum disease and gingivitis regularly bleed from their gums. Because there are exposed openings in your mouth, it is easy for the bad bacteria to enter your bloodstream, causing potentially serious health issues.

Research shows that poor dental health can contribute to the following diseases and health conditions:

Heart Disease: Research suggests that heart disease; clogged arteries and stroke may be caused by oral bacteria, mostly in cases of people suffering from periodontitis (a severe gum disease).

Endocarditis: For people with weak immune systems or previously damaged heart valves, bacteria in the bloodstream can cause an infection of the inner lining of the heart.

Diabetes: People with diabetes are often more prone to infection, putting the gums at greater risk. In addition, if your blood sugar levels are out of control in your body, they are also out of control in your mouth. With sugar to feed on, bacteria are likely to thrive, often resulting in gum disease.

Osteoporosis: Osteoporosis causes bones to become weak and brittle overtime, and that affects your teeth too. If your jawbone becomes compromised by osteoporosis, tooth loss is likely, and gum disease may take over the empty spots.

Birth Complications: Gum disease in pregnant women can result in premature birth and low birth weight.

If your dentist has told you that you suffer from gingivitis or gum inflammation, you may be at risk for other health issues as well. Cavities, missing teeth, and severe tooth decay are indications that the health of your mouth isn’t the only thing to worry about. Good dental health requires oral hygiene and regular visits to your dentists. So, make it a point to see your dentist twice a year.