Why Oral Health Is So Important for Your Overall Health

While you might not think your oral health has any connection to your overall health, they often go hand in hand. Your mouth is full of bacteria, both good and bad, which can sometimes spiral into certain diseases or infections. 

What conditions are linked to oral health?

As Mayo Clinic explains, there are many conditions linked to oral health, and it’s important to be aware of them:

  • Endocarditis. This infection of the inner lining of your heart chambers or valves typically occurs when bacteria from another part of your body, such as your mouth, spread through your bloodstream and attach to certain areas in your heart.
  • Pregnancy and birth complications. Gum disease has been linked to premature birth and low birth weight.
  • Pneumonia and other respiratory infections. Inhaling certain bacteria from your mouth, including bacteria from infected teeth or gums, can be pulled into your lungs and cause pneumonia or other respiratory diseases.
  • Arthritis. Tooth loss due to gum disease increases the risk of rheumatoid arthritis.
  • Dementia. Bacteria due to gum disease can enter your brain through nerve channels or the bloodstream, possibly leading to Alzheimer’s disease.

How can you help prevent these from happening?

  • Proper dental care. Brushing twice a day, flossing daily, using mouthwash and replacing your toothbrush every three to four months are all ways to practice proper dental care. 
  • Regular checkups. It’s important to see your dentist at least twice a year to ensure that everything is healthy and treat any possible issues. 
  • Healthy eating habits. Limiting sugary food and drinks helps prevent cavities and gum disease, which can lead to other conditions if left untreated. 

Anytime you notice a new oral problem beginning to develop, contact your dentist immediately to ensure that it’s taken care of as soon as possible. You never know when it could potentially affect your overall health. 

Why should we care about gum disease?

February has been designated Gum Disease Awareness Month! Initially launched by the Institute for Advanced Laser Dentistry, its purpose is to raise awareness about gum disease and encourage healthy dental habits to prevent it.

What is gum disease?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), gum disease, also referred to as periodontitis, is the result of infections and inflammation of the gums and bone that surround and support the teeth. In the early stages, the gums can become swollen and red, and they may bleed. As it progresses, the gums can pull away from the tooth, which can eventually result in bone and tooth loss. Not only does gum disease affect your mouth, it can affect your body as well. Regular check-ups and good oral hygiene are important to ensure everything is healthy.

Risk Factors

Periodontal disease is mostly seen in adults, with 47.2% of those aged 30 years and older having some form of it. This risk only increases with age. On top of age, there are many other risk factors that can increase your chance of developing gum disease. One of the primary risk factors is smoking, followed by poor oral hygiene, diabetes, stress, hormonal changes and medications that cause dry mouth.

How can gum disease affect your body?

While gum disease starts in the mouth, when left untreated, it can start affecting many other parts of the body as well. This includes respiratory disease, rheumatoid arthritis, coronary artery disease and diabetes.

Symptoms

Common symptoms of gum disease to watch out for include:

  • Swollen or puffy gums.
  • Bright red, dusky red or purplish gums.
  • Gums that feel tender when touched.
  • Gums that bleed easily.
  • Pink-tinged toothbrush after brushing.
  • Painful chewing.

How can gum disease be prevented?

The best way to help prevent gum disease is to have regular checkups with your dentist, brush your teeth twice a day and floss at least once a day. Good oral hygiene prevents the development of specific bacteria that cause periodontal disease. If you’re having any symptoms, it’s best to schedule an appointment with your dentist to get it checked out.

Smile Crafters is a part of Mortenson Dental Partners.

 Why Oral Health Is So Important for Your Overall Health

While you might not think your oral health has any connection to your overall health, they often go hand in hand. Your mouth is full of bacteria, both good and bad, which can sometimes spiral into certain diseases or infections.  What conditions are linked to oral health? As Mayo Clinic explains, there are many conditions […]

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