How Oral Health Impacts Overall Health

About 1 in every 4 adults between the ages of 20 and 64 has at least one cavity. Many people prioritize their overall health and wellness over their oral health, but did you know that oral health and overall health are connected?

That’s right, your poor dental hygiene symptoms aren’t just putting you at a risk of cavities and missing teeth. You may be damaging your heart, your brain, and more. We’re here to talk about some of the connections between physical and oral health. Read on to learn more. 

Poor Oral Health and Pregnancy

Many people aren’t aware that poor oral hygiene and health can result in serious pregnancy complications. Gingivitis isn’t uncommon during the last few weeks of pregnancy due to the increase of progesterone, but unfortunately, it can be dangerous.

People with gum disease have a greater chance of pre-term labor, low birth-weight babies, and having babies with certain health conditions (including cerebral palsy, jaundice, malnutrition, and more).  It’s important for pregnant people to have routine dental visits to make sure their teeth are in good condition. 

Oral Health

Heart Disease and Stroke

There is a significant connection between gum disease and cardiovascular disease. Gum disease happens when plaque builds up on your teeth and finds its way under your gums. That extra plaque could, in the long run, lead to bacterial endocarditis. It may also lead to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (otherwise known as COPD).

Serious gum disease that leads to tooth loss may even put people at an increased risk of strokes. If you have a family history of heart disease, regular dentist visits are crucial.

Diabetic Complications 

It’s important to note that there’s no evidence to support the idea that gum disease causes diabetes. With that said, diabetes may actually increase your chances of oral health problems.

People with diabetes who aren’t able to keep their condition under control are more likely to have gum disease. They’re also more susceptible to infections, which greater increases their chance of problems. Because of that extra sensitivity to infections, oral infections and gum disease may also cause problems with blood sugar.

Dementia and Alzheimer’s

There may be a connection between dementia and oral health and hygiene. One of the most common culprits of periodontitis is Porphyromonas gingivalis. This bacteria may be able to travel from the mouth to the brain and trigger dementia or Alzheimer’s.

It’s unclear whether or not gum disease can cause dementia or if people with dementia have higher rates of gum disease due to poor oral hygiene as a result of their disease.

Oral Health and Overall Health Are Connected

Every part of your body works together to keep you healthy, and your teeth are no exception. Taking care of your oral health can keep the rest of your body in better health as well. 

Make sure that you’re brushing your teeth twice per day, flossing, and visiting a dentist twice per year if you want to keep your teeth healthy and strong. 

Are you looking for a new dentist? Dr. Lige Dunaway is here to help. Contact us to set up an appointment today.