Oral Care For Your Overall Health: The Connection Between Your Oral Health and Overall Health
Taking care of your teeth and gums not only protects your smile, but it also can affect your overall health.
When you brush and floss on a regular basis, it helps keep the bacteria in your mouth under control. But if you don’t take care of your teeth, bacteria can grow and cause tooth decay. It can also lead to gum disease or periodontitis.
Research suggests that the oral bacteria in your mouth and the inflammation associated with a severe form of gum disease might play a role in some diseases. If you have certain health issues, such as diabetes and HIV/AIDS, it can lower your body’s resistance to infection, making oral health problems more severe. Many people who have diabetes also have gum disease. Diabetes can make your body more susceptible to infection. People who have HIV or AIDS can also have oral problems such as mucosal lesions.
Here are four diseases and conditions, your oral health may influence:
- An infection of the inner lining of your heart chambers or valves, endocarditis often happens when bacteria or other germs from your mouth spread through your bloodstream and attach to certain areas in your heart.
- Cardiovascular disease. While this connection is still being investigated, researchers believe that heart disease, clogged arteries and stroke are linked to inflammation and infections caused by oral bacteria.
- Pregnancy and birth complications. Periodontitis has been linked to children born too early and those with low birth weight.
- Certain bacteria in your mouth can cause respiratory diseases and pneumonia when they’re pulled into your lungs.
If you’re concerned about your health or have questions about gum disease, make sure you talk to your dentist. Knowing how to properly floss and treat gum disease in its earliest stages can help protect your overall health.