Going to the dentist is not just something people do for their smile. Going to the dentist is an integral piece of your overall health! Understanding the connection between your mouth and the rest of your body and then knowing what to do about that is so important in our world today.
There are numerous medical studies that show the connection between your mouth and the rest of your body. Your mouth is teeming with bacteria, and with daily oral health care, most people can keep this bacteria under control. However, when the bacteria get out of control, it can affect other systems of the body. Below is a list from Mayo Clinic of various diseases and conditions that can be affected by oral health:
- Endocarditis. Endocarditis is an infection of the inner lining of your heart (endocardium). Endocarditis typically occurs when bacteria or other germs from another part of your body, such as 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 infections that oral bacteria can cause.
- Pregnancy and birth. Periodontitis has been linked to premature birth and low birth weight.
- Diabetes. Diabetes reduces the body’s resistance to infection — putting the gums at risk. Gum disease appears to be more frequent and severe among people who have diabetes.
- HIV/AIDS. Oral problems, such as painful mucosal lesions, are common in people who have HIV/AIDS.
- Osteoporosis. Osteoporosis — which causes bones to become weak and brittle — might be linked with periodontal bone loss and tooth loss.
- Alzheimer’s disease. Tooth loss before age 35 might be a risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease.
- Other conditions: Other conditions that might be linked to oral health include Sjogren’s syndrome — an immune system disorder that causes dry mouth — and eating disorders.
Your dentist is a key player in helping you understand your risk for other conditions. Poor oral hygiene can be a huge risk factor for you developing more serious health conditions. Taking care of your oral health is a key part of your overall health. Our dental practice cares about the whole person, from teeth to the big picture. Let our dentists help guide your oral health journey in light of the bigger picture of helping you have a well-rounded, healthy life.