Oral Systemic Link

Oral health: A window to your overall health

Your oral health is more important than you might realize. Get the facts about how the health of your mouth, teeth and gums can affect your general health.

There is growing evidence indicating that your oral health also affects the rest of your body. Periodontitis (gum tissue disease) seems to be associated with several other health conditions including heart disease, diabetes and stroke.

oral systemic link

Like many areas of your body, your mouth is full of bacteria – most of them luckily harmless. Normally your body’s natural defenses and good oral healthcare, such as daily brushing and flossing, help keep these bacteria under control. However, without proper oral hygiene, bacteria can reach levels that might leed to oral infections such as tooth decay and gum disease (periodontal disease).

Also, certain medications like decongestants, antihistamines, painkillers, diuretics and antidepressants can reduce your saliva flow causing a dry mouth. Your saliva washes away food and neutralizes acids produced by bacteria in the mouth helping to protect you from microbial invasion or overgrowth that might lead to disease.

Your oral health might contribute to various disease and conditions including:

  • Endocarditis: endocarditis is an infection of the inner lining of your heart that typically occurs when bacteria or other germs from another part of your body (like your mouth) spread through your bloodstream and attach to damaged areas in your heart.
  • Cardiovascular disease: some research suggests that heart disease (clogged arteries and stroke) might be linked to the inflammation and the infections that oral bacteria can cause.
  • Pregnancy and birth: periodontitis have been linked to both low birth weight and premature birth

 

Your body’s general health might also affect your oral health:

  • Diabetes: Diabetes reduces your body’s resistance to infection putting your gums at risk. Gum disease seems to be more prevalent and severe among people who have diabetes. Research also shows that people who have gum disease have a harder time controlling their blood sugar levels and that regular periodontal care can improve diabetes control.
  • Osteoporosis: causes your bones to become weak and brittle. Might be linked to periodontal bone loss and tooth loss. Drugs used to treat osteoporosis also carry a small risk of damage to the bones of the jaw.
  • Alzheimers disease: worsening oral health is normally seen as Alzheimer’s disease progresses.

oral health systemic healthBecause of these potential links it is very important to tell is if you take any medications or have had any changes in your overall health. Especially if you have had any recent illnesses or you have a chronic condition such as diabetes. This is also the reason why you might find our health history much more thorough than most other dental offices.

The best thing that you can do yourself is:

  • Brush your teeth at least twice a day with fluoride toothpaste.
  • Floss daily.
  • Eat a healthy diet and limit between-meal snacks.
  • Replace your toothbrush every three to four months or sooner if bristles are frayed.
  • Schedule regular dental checkups and cleanings.
  • Avoid tobacco use.

Contact us as soon as an oral health problem arises. Taking care of your oral health is an investment in your overall health.