Dental Health And Disease: An Indisputable Connection
Oral health comprises much more than just the health of your mouth, teeth, and gums. Your mouth is a primary gateway to the rest of your body, so poor oral hygiene and health can cause negative consequences that affect many other areas of the body. Bleeding gums, aching teeth, and bad breath are all indicators of poor oral health, but they are also an indicator that disease somewhere else in the body could be brewing.
Bacteria from your mouth can quickly spread to other areas of the body via the bloodstream, causing inflammation, illness, and disease. It is vital that you proactively manage your oral health by practicing good oral hygiene at home and making regular trips to your dentist to ensure that you safeguard yourself against illness and disease. Failure to do so might cause you to face some dire health consequences. Here are some health issues that have clear connections to dental disease and decay; take care of those teeth!
The same bacteria that cause periodontal disease are responsible for creating a condition called arteriosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries. Over time, plaque buildup in the blood vessels causes strain on the heart, making you prone to other conditions like arrhythmia, stroke and even heart attack. Endocarditis is another deadly condition that may develop, with excess bacteria causing an infection in the lining of the heart which is, in many cases, fatal.
Poor dental health can also affect your brain. By-products of inflammation in gum tissue can actually release themselves into your bloodstream, making their way to the brain and killing off brain cells. Over time, this death of brain cells leads to memory loss. There are now connections between dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, and gingivitis, where bacteria spreads to nerve channels that affect the brain.
Respiratory health can also be affected by poor oral hygiene. Bacteria from swollen gums and infected teeth can enter the lungs through the bloodstream, causing respiratory distress. Illnesses can develop such as pneumonia, bronchitis, and even COPD.
People with diabetes are already prone to periodontal disease, and this can create a vicious cycle of infections which then affect the health of your mouth. Symptoms worsen as blood sugar spirals out of control, leading to other complications with diabetes. There are very clear connections between gum disease and the development of diabetes, so it is critical to take proper care of gums and teeth to preserve and protect your overall health.
Hormonal changes that take place in a woman during pregnancy leave her more susceptible to oral infections and periodontal disease. Any infection present in mom’s body can negatively impact the health of her developing child. Poor oral hygiene and oral health has been linked to low birth weight and premature birth, two conditions that do not need to be experienced if teeth are properly cared for. Gum disease puts both mother and baby at risk for developing health issues before, during and after birth.
There are links between poor oral health and the amount of time it can take for a woman to become pregnant. These issues can lead to difficulties with conception and complications during pregnancy. It can take longer for women with poor dental health to conceive than women who have good overall dental health.
Chronic periodontal disease can put a man at risk for erectile dysfunction. Diseased gums introduce bacteria into the bloodstream, causing swelling of the tissues that can prevent blood from reaching the genitals, a primary cause of erection. Keeping teeth clean, well cared for and disease-free is one way to ensure that all systems of the body are in good health.
While there are obvious connections to tobacco use and types of oral cancer, other links exist between cancer and poor oral health. Studies have shown correlations between poor oral health and the existence of kidney, pancreatic, and blood cancers in the body. Risks of developing these types of cancers are much higher in someone with a history of poor oral health.
Chronic kidney disease is an inflammatory condition that affects not just the kidneys, but the heart and circulatory system as well. Poor oral hygiene tends to weaken the immune system, which makes the body more prone to infections. In severe cases, kidney disease can become fatal if the function of the kidneys is compromised, or if it contributes to cardiovascular disease.
People with periodontal disease are four times as likely to develop rheumatoid arthritis, according to the National Rheumatoid Arthritis Society. Oral bacteria that is present in the mouth with gingivitis can cause widespread inflammation that can settle in joints, negatively impacting your whole body and your mobility. Rheumatoid arthritis is a crippling disease that has a devastating impact on your mental, emotional, and physical health.
Good Oral Hygiene: A Lifesaving Measure Against Disease
One of the very best ways to prevent serious illness is to practice good oral hygiene at home. In addition, taking a proactive stance in caring for your teeth by visiting your dentist regularly will ensure that you are taking charge of your health in a very simple yet profound way. To practice good oral hygiene, you must:
Brush and floss daily
Refrain from the use of tobacco products
Use toothpaste and mouthwash products that contain fluoride
Limit sugary, acidic, and sticky foods
Eat a well-balanced diet to meet your nutritional needs
Dr. Gordon E. Krueger DDS, MS, PA and his talented team of associates are here to meet all of your oral health needs. From a simple cleaning to the most restorative procedure, we are here every step of the way to help you take charge of your dental health. If you are committed to reclaiming the health of your body and your mouth, visit us today. We will provide the most comprehensive dental care in a professional and welcoming environment. Visit https://www.gordonekruegerdds.com for more information and support as you take charge of your health. A brighter, more vibrant smile will be yours!