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Dental health and general health are intricately linked. Bacteria that lodge in our mouth can pass into the bloodstream, potentially causing other diseases that affect bodily systems.
That is why dental symptoms can sometimes signal a more severe condition, and good oral health can help prevent systemic diseases.
Unhealthy gums and teeth are often found in combination with heart disease and other life-threatening illnesses that affect oral health.
New research provides increasing evidence about these connections between your mouth’s health and some of the most deadly and costly chronic conditions.
Here are seven ways poor oral health can hurt your overall medical health:
According to studies, people with moderate or advanced gum disease are more likely to suffer from cardiovascular disease, including heart conditions and strokes, than patients who do not have gum disease, gingivitis, or early periodontitis.
Studies have not shown that one disease causes the other, but both share risk factors, such as smoking, poor diet, and diabetes.
When the kidneys are not working well, derivatives of the incomplete breakdown of proteins are released.
Consequently, a patient with kidney disease may have bad breath and notice an unpleasant taste in the mouth.
Other signs are a dry mouth and a metallic taste. Having a dry mouth is often caused by a low amount of saliva, and the natural cleaning effect of it decreases.
This allows the number of bacteria to increase and the development of gingivitis and gum disease.
Gingivitis is a mild and common form of periodontal disease. It causes inflammation, redness, and irritation of the part of your gums around the base of the teeth.
It is critical to treat gingivitis promptly so that it does not lead to tooth loss and a more serious condition known as periodontitis.
Diabetes is a disease that goes both ways: infections in the mouth and teeth can alter blood glucose levels, and one of the symptoms of this disease is diminished immunity.
A mouth and teeth with hygiene problems, inflammation, and bleeding can become severe problems for a diabetic patient.
Diabetes, if not treated can lead to:
- Inflamed and bleeding gums
- Decreased production of saliva causing dry mouth
- Higher risk of cavities due to less saliva protecting your teeth
People with diabetes are also more susceptible to mouth infections and experience delayed wound healing.
Changes in Pregnancy
Poor oral health increases the risk of pregnancy complications such as premature delivery, low-birth-weight children, and even pre-eclampsia.
The spread of bacteria caused by the gums’ inflammation can even reach the placenta, causing infection, inflammation, and possible complications during pregnancy like premature births.
Having discomfort in or around the mouth or a missing tooth can increase the likelihood of developing poor eating habits and eating disorders.
By not being able to chew food normally, the stomach does not work correctly, and digestive system problems can occur.
There can also be a tendency to consume foods that are easy to grind, leaving aside those more difficult but essential for our bodies, such as healthy vegetables and fruits.
Dental disease can be linked to even more severe diseases, such as oral cancer. One of the causes of oral cancer can be a mouth ulcer due to the friction of broken teeth or the poor placement of false teeth.
If other factors such as smoking or a poor diet are added to this, the risk is even higher.
You can generally keep bacteria under control through proper daily oral hygiene. However, bacteria related to periodontitis can cause infections in the gums.
The oral cavity’s bacteria can spread to the bloodstream, be carried to the rest of the body, and cause diseases or even sepsis.
It is essential to include periodic oral health check-ups in your health care routine as a preventive measure against both oral diseases and systemic conditions.
It is advisable to go to a qualified professional, such as a Dr. Alex Hawkins from Hawkins Family Dentistry, every six months.
A reputable dentist will provide efficient dental services that are essential to achieving overall health.
This practice is suitable for your health and your pocket because prevention and early detection will avoid many treatments and allow you to keep your teeth much longer.
Besides, preventing systemic conditions should give you more reason to schedule frequent dentist appointments for you and your family. In the end, a beautiful smile is more important to your health than it seems.